Jesus’ mission to reveal the Father
If you polled Christians, asking the reason for Jesus’ incarnation, most would say he came to redeem humanity — to open heaven so we could one day be with him forever in heaven as adopted sons and daughters.
True. But Jesus also came to reveal the Father, who is “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4). The invisible nature of God became visible in and through Jesus’ actions.
The Catechism teaches that “it pleased God … to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature” (#51).
Sadly, with so many young people (and grown adults) with no concept of a loving father, how does the Church communicate the love of God the Father, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ?
The crisis of fatherhood is epic, and the statistics are alarming. The U.S. Census Bureau tells us that nearly half of children (43%) are being raised without a dad at home, and 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The youth suicide rate is five times higher for kids without a dad.
There is no easy answer, but we are all called in our own particular way to mirror God the Father’s love to our own children and be surrogate fathers to people who are lacking that example.
The first time I ever saw my dad cry was at his father’s funeral. I was six years old, and the image of my father tearing up when he said his last goodbye will stay with me forever. He loved his father deeply.
Now it’s my turn. My father — George Novecosky — has cancer and I’m faced with the prospect of saying goodbye to him. Fortunately, he’s making it easy for us with his refreshing good humor. In a documentary I made on my parents’ spiritual legacy a few years ago, he quipped, “I’m not afraid to die, but I’m in no hurry!”
In his encyclical Rich in Mercy, Pope St. John Paul II taught that “the truth, revealed in Christ, about God the ‘Father of mercies,’ enables us to see him as particularly close to man especially when man is suffering” (#2).
My father’s spiritual legacy will live on in his nine children and 17 grandchildren. He taught us to live well, to love well and to remember that our end is to live forever in the Father’s House.
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.
EDITOR’S NOTE: George Novecosky was received into the arms of Our Lord on July 30, 2016.