We know that Father’s Day this year falls on June 20th. Father’s Week, however, begins today, Palm Sunday. Holy Week is in some way Father’s Week.
Why do I say this? God the Father is present at every moment throughout these days, from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, to the Last Supper, arrest, passion, death and resurrection.
In our individualistic culture, we tend to see Jesus as a lone, heroic actor in this “Passion Play.” He takes on the evil of the world and delivers us from the depths of hell. "Jesus Christ Superstar."
Yet actually to read the Gospels is to get a much different image. Jesus is the true and perfect messenger of his Father, the reflection of the One who sent him. He does his Father’s will, completing his Father’s plan and mission, even to death on the cross. As his enemies bring Jesus before the chief priests, one the main charges they bring against him is that he claims to be “Son of God,” making God his Father. This is the week of the Father.
As a boy, I was always struck by one particular reference Jesus makes to the Father. When Judas the betrayer brings soldiers to arrest Jesus, the Lord stands his ground and prevents the Apostles from fighting for him.
“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than 12 legions of angels?” Jesus says.
I saw Jesus like a kid in the playground, confronted by a band of bullies, saying, “Wait till my father finds out. He’ll whip you all!” What confidence Jesus had in his father. He was always aware of his Father’s intimate presence and protection.
In the coming days, we will look more closely at the presence and power of God the Father during Holy Week, and suggest how we as fathers can exercise a similar role in the lives of our children.
None of us is the heavenly Father, of course, but we are created in the image and likeness of God, and are called to protect and shape that image in our own offspring.