Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Perfection of masculinity is in fatherhood

Being a biological father is easy; fathering a child is challenging.

There has been a decline in the holy vocation of fatherhood in past decades. As a result, Fathers’ Day celebrations, for many, can be bittersweet.

Watching only a few hours of television demonstrates how gravely the image of fatherhood has been defiled. Fathers are portrayed as lazy, wimpy and ignorant. As respect for them declines, they are also being rendered dispensable through reproductive technology and as disposable in broken marriages.

A father’s absence (physical or emotional) has a devastating effect on families. It leads to higher delinquency rates, lower self-esteem, and an increased risk of early sexual involvement. A father’s presence, even if his involvement is minimal, provides children stability and security. 

Fatherhood also involves spiritual nurturing. A child first experiences God through his relationship with his parents. God’s attributes represented by the father are different than those by the mother. Both are needed for the healthy development of the child’s relationship with God.  Furthermore, research shows that a father’s commitment to church worship has a vastly greater effect on the child’s churchgoing in adulthood than does the mother’s. 

Restoring the dignity of earthly fatherhood requires an understanding of Divine Fatherhood. Even before God was Creator, He was Father.  From this divine Fatherhood is generated the eternally begotten Son. This revealed truth has wonderful implications for earthly fathers. While both men and women are created in the image of God, the male, in his masculinity, is the icon of divine fatherhood on earth.

In this profound representational role, men can find their identity and mission as fathers. Emulating God’s fatherhood, they can embrace its eternal aspect by being a lifelong presence for their children– imitating God in their total gift of self, providing for their material and spiritual needs, protecting them, and loving them unconditionally.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans (Romans, 12:21)

The Ascension informs of Jesus’ second coming

The Feast of The Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day after Jesus’ Resurrection.  This Holy Day, which this year falls on June 2, commemorates an important historic event –Jesus’ departure from earth.  More significantly, it is a reminder of God’s plan for our salvation and Jesus’ role in its fulfilment.

The Ascension is documented in various Biblical texts. The Acts of the Apostles recounts that Jesus taught for 40 days after His Resurrection. At a gathering near the Mount of Olives, near Bethany, Jesus told the apostles they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and commanded them to spread His message about the Kingdom of God to the world. Then, Jesus was taken up and received by a cloud. 

Two angels appeared and announced that Jesus will return in the same manner as he was taken. While the Gospel of Mark says Bethany was the site of The Ascension, it also says that Jesus "was taken up into heaven,” and that He then “sat down at the right hand of God" (Mk. 16:19).

Thus, The Ascension fulfilled the covenant made with David in the Old Testament. David was promised that one of his descendants will permanently reign at God’s side, and Jesus’ lineage traces back to David.
Having entered Heaven, Jesus intercedes for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

The events of The Ascension inform us of the second coming and reveal that when the risen Lord returns again to Earth, God’s will for mankind will 
be fulfilled.

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