September 3, 2020
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
Let us take a moment to rejoice in the gift of fatherhood. In doing so, we celebrate the gift of families. But let us also acknowledge the challenges of family life.
This Sunday’s Gospel ends with this well-known statement from Jesus.
I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’ (Matthew 18:19-20)
The setting of these verses is not in a context of prayer. Instead, Jesus has just been discussing how the Christian community are to resolve conflicts. Those expected to resolve disputes must place themselves in the presence of God so that their judgments may overflow with the truth and mercy of God’s love: If two sit together and words of the Law pass between them, the divine presence abides between them (‘Abot 3:2)
The father, as a parent, has the solemn duty of guiding the development of his child into a good person. This often is an experience of conflict between father and child. He does not do this alone, for a father is called not only to be a parent but a husband, and together parents desire the good for their children. Parents must help their child admit to making a mistake. When parents undertake this challenge in the unity of God’s love, they will be guided in the balance between truth and mercy for their beloved child.
It is difficult for a child to come to know a parent’s love as the unity of truth and mercy. The parent wishes for their child to choose the good things offering lasting joy freely, however, the child often experiences only the reprimand. The child slowly comes to know their mistakes also an opportunity for parents to guide them towards the good choices in life. Therefore, parents must balance their correction with the gentleness of mercy and forgiveness, for the goal is to grow in the loving bonds of family unity.
We all need truth to guide us, but we all need mercy as we learn the lessons of life, admit our mistakes, and start again in the bonds of love. When we invite God into the adventures of our life, we share in the perfect truth and mercy of the divine love that is the source of eternal life. This Fathers’ Day, may we all renew the bonds of family.