Many of you know that I am a second vocation priest. Having been married before I am blessed with six beautiful daughters and thirteen grandchildren. Today’s gospel has always struck my heart. Jesus is teaching the disciples to call God Abba, which is about the same as saying Dad. It is much more loving and tender a term than Yahweh or Adonai. And this familiarity would have struck his disciples with a sense of can we really say that! But God wants us to know Him as a loving Father.
I was ordained at the age of fifty-five. All my daughters were working, making a living for themselves and three were already married. That evening after the ordination we were at Culvers celebrating with an ice cream treat when my oldest daughter asked, “So, what do we call you now?” She is the serious one and all of us busted out laughing. I said you can call me whatever you think is appropriate. Another daughter said but you are a Father now. And we laughed again. Yes, you are right, I am a Father. Another daughter spoke up, but you are our Dad first. I gently replied but now I am a Father to many.
After a couple of minutes of thinking one of them said, “How about Father Dad when we are in the public but is it OK to just say Dad when we are together.” Just like Jesus in the gospel, there is a time to address God in a formal manner and then there is a way to address God when it is just you and Him.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen