The Audacity to Be the Father that God Created You to Be

by David Gray, June 17, 2012
Today’s Gospel Reading at the Sunday Mass comes from Mark 4:26-34, and concerns the Parable of the Mustard Seed:

    Jesus said to the crowds:
    “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

    He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

    With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

I’m full of emotions this morning (June 17, 2012). I’m so happy to be spending another Father’s Day with my daughters (two of three in picture to the left), and I’m also feeling very introspective about it being the anniversary of my father, Oscar’s, death. For those of you who’ve read my book Cooperating with God: Life with the Cross know how much I loved that man. I also wrote about my step-father, Roy, who passed away in 2009. After have two really good earthly fathers my whole life, I find myself still trying to grasp and get use to being a man. I know that probably sounds weird, but it’s a difference from being a man, while the man in your life is still there, versus being a man and no longer having him to turn to. It’s a strangest feeling masculine independence that this life has to offer.

As I was considering what to write about in today’s reflection, I picked up my books on Cooperating with God, and read again the introductory chapter in which I spent several pages writing about the Kingdom of God; it’s age and purpose, it’s coming, it’s mission, it’s marks, and etc. As I was reading it, and also considering Jesus’ words today about the Kingdom of God being like a plant that yields much fruit, and it being like a mustard seed that starts small but grows into the largest of plants, I realized that the Kingdom of God is an image of Fatherhood.

Fatherhood is like the Kingdom of God because man plants his seed in woman, and that seed sprouts and grows, though he knows not precisely how; first the heart, then the organs, then the limbs. When the child becomes fully grown it leaves the father’s home and begins to prepare for its own harvest. The parable of the mustard seed being an image of the Kingdom of God also reminds us of God’s covenant promise to Abraham when “[The Lord] took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be” (Genesis 15:5). The seed of Abraham began with one child and eventually numbered everyone on this planet who calls him our father in faith.

The imagery of the Kingdom of God that Jesus paints is it being of abundant harvest and of overwhelming love; similarly, Fatherhood is nothing if it is not fruitful, faithful, and contagious. We might not always see this in what we receive from our earthly fathers, or even what we give out as earthly fathers, but it is what we always know in God our Heavenly Father, who said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

It is the Theology of the Body and how we Cooperate with God when men accept their call to Fatherhood. Indeed, fatherhood is the highest form of masculinity – it is what every man has been created for, and must aspire to. And while ones life in fatherhood may not always be the direct result of his own seed planted in woman, it is still his natural calling to be precisely the type of father that called has called him to be.

As Satan continues to attack family and fatherhood through homosexuality, divorce, pornography, adultery, and etc., it’s going to be incumbent upon men who call God their Father to take up the slack for our brothers who have fallen down (in death or physical abandonment) and are unable and/or unprepared to be real fathers. It is also going to be our duty to admonish and ministry to our fallen fathers so that they can be restored and strengthened in their call. For their part, women are also going to have to demand more and expect more out of men. Women must know God as Father so that they will know how to draw the best out of their husbands to be better fathers. Unless woman knows God as her Father, she will never have the framework to know what to expect from her children’s father.

Today is the day to embrace the audacity to be who you were created to be.

“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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