Today’s mass readings remind me of a Rodney Atkins song on His album, If You’re Going Through Hell. On the album he sings a song called “Watchin’ You” where a little boy learns all things from his dad. I heard it and thought what a cute song it was and saw how my own sons are always watching me. Whatever I do they do…wow, that’s scary!
Jesus tells us that his own relationship with His father is the same. In today’s gospel Jesus tells the Jews of His day, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work…Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does.”
The Lord has given fathers an incredible role in molding, teaching, and providing the example for their children about what it means to be a man–especially a man of God. Young men will grow up to be a man like their father, and young ladies will grow up to marry a man like their dad. What kind of example are we showing those who look up to us as fathers? Jesus provides the example of what it means to be a man of God.
Jesus prayed, and allowed His disciples to see it, and even taught them how to pray. Do you pray with your children that they might learn to give thanks to and ask God for their deepest needs? Jesus was intimately familiar with the Scriptures. He quoted them both to His disciples and to those who claimed to be religious yet lived inconsistently with God’s revealed Word. How often do you read God’s word, meditate on it, and pray on it? Do your children SEE you reading God’s Word? How many Catholic men stay at home on Sunday while mothers bear the burden of bringing the children to mass!
Jesus was moved with compassion for those suffering around them. How often are we moved with compassion and come to the aid of others (that includes our own children)? So often I come home and am exhausted from work but my sons want me to help them “build a factory” in the backyard! How we respond to the needs of our children, how we show our loving concern for those in the community, and what we do to alleviate sickness, pain, and disease in the world matters for ourselves and our children. We can never be “too busy” to come to the aid of those in need.
Jesus stood up against unjust authority. He called things as he saw it and condemned hypocrisy, legalism, and misplaced religiosity. He called men of faith to be transparent and honest, people who love and are kind, and who know that religion teaches us to love, guides us through this difficult life, and aides us in our desire for greater holiness and unity with God–not a justification for passing judgement.
My boys want to work on the house, work on the car, run cross country during cross country season, and wrestle during wrestling season. All they want to do is grow up to be just like their dad. What an incredible stewardship God has given fathers (not to the exclusion of mothers, of course)! I am more mindful than ever that I have choices to make. If I chew tobacco and smoke, damaging my body, they will want to chew and smoke. Has it been so long since we used “jerky chew,” “big league chew,” and candy cigarettes? Everything I do matters. If I pollute my body with alcohol, drugs, and other impurities, they will do the same. But if I pray, they will pray. If I exercise, they will exercise. If I take God and church seriously they will do the same. If I treat my wife with respect, honor her, and praise her, they will follow my example.
Men of God, it’s time to step up, live righteously, virtuously, Christ-like. and lead by example. Ladies, it’s time to call your man to responsibility and accountability as a man of God. Your role is a prophetic one! After all, “the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does.” Amen?