In a Gospel passage a few weekends ago at Sunday Mass, we heard the fascinating words of our Lord teaching his disciples how to pray. His first word to them, in the Gospel of Luke is simply “Father.”
I find it amazing and providential, each summer it seems, that so often in the Gospels we hear around this time in the liturgical cycle the prevalent themes of trust, rest and even family. These are the days when many of us – myself included – take (or have just returned from) summer vacations, and hence we seek time to grow closer to one another as a family.
A picture from my recent visit to Ocean City.
I have many fond memories from my childhood of fishing and crabbing with my father and family on the Chesapeake Bay, near Chincoteague and Assateague islands, and in Ocean City. Sometimes we would catch fish, and sometimes not so much; such is the surprising, trying, patient and peaceful life of fishing. But when we did, at the end of the day it often ended up being very tasty fried flounder. Thanks to my dad and a hot skillet or grill, it ended up happily settling in our tummies!
But even more than the excitement of catching a large fish, it was even better just being with my father, my family and friends. Whether it was him teaching me how to bait a hook, or helping me reel in a feisty fish, those were times when I truly bonded with my dad. They are times I won’t forget and gratefully call to mind.
This is a similar type of relationship that Jesus wants us to have with his Father – who is our Father, through our baptisms and our Christian life. I imagine, when I contemplate it, that his disciples obviously saw, by his devotion and the very way he prayed, that they could tell that he had – I dare say – a most trusting and childlike relationship with the Father. He was so deeply bonded with him. What if ours were the same?