“You’re just like your father!!” so my mother would say when I was growing up – especially when I showed my stubborn German side. . .
I miss my parents. And one reason is the older I get – the more I realize I AM just like my father. . . as well as my mother.
I have my mother’s love of faith, of family and of growing things . . . And my father’s love of figuring things out – fixing and building things ----and food --- to say nothing about my love of cars with high mileage!
As I said way back at the beginning of the summer – right before Father’s Day: “Perhaps THE strongest example children receive in their lives – is from their parents.”
And Jesus said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Oh how Jesus wished Peter were a bit more like their Father. . .
Because that’s what Jesus asks of all his followers: to become (as best we can) HOLY just like God is HOLY– Jesus wants us to think like God does, see what God sees, want what God wants, love as God has – and does – love us.
Just like our earthly parents have shaped us, so should our heavenly one do the same – help mold us into the wonderful person we were created to be.
There is one big difference though --- in many ways our moms and dads shaped us without our full consent – shaped us simply because of the home they created for us and the values they taught us – teaching us mostly by example of what they said to us and how they treated us as we were growing up.
How many of us ever heard our parents say: “as long as you live in my house – this is the way it is!!”
But in a very real sense – God rarely (if ever) works in us WITHOUT our consent . . . And NOT because God can’t. That’s not it at all.
But it is because God chooses to act this way because God completely respects our freedom – respects our ability to choose or NOT to choose being open to God’s grace ----- God respects our ability to choose or NOT to choose to say YES to being a disciple. And that means to a large extent – that WE have the ability---- as well as the responsibility--- to choose the kind of person we become.
“You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
It’s true that trying to understand what God might be “thinking”, or trying to figure out how God sees us, or what God wants for us, might seem an impossible task. >>
After all – God is God and we are not!
And so, it takes self-revelation on God’s part, a deep desire on God’s part to be known. In faith, we believe that’s precisely what has happened throughout all of human history – and continues to this day – God wants us to know all we can about God -- so as to freely and fully love God!
And so we have had countless men and women who have pondered the great mysteries of life and who, with God’s help, have helped shed light on who God is.
We have had the prophets, like Isaiah who tell us “the Lord is our help, who will prove us wrong?
And those who knew Jesus like James who tell us “What good is it if someone says they have faith but does not have works?”
Or those like Saint Peter Claver, who feastday we celebrated this past week, who teaches us about the importance of reaching out to the poor and needy – for in them is found the very face of God.
And then we have something in history that was a real game-changer. We have something that makes known the mind of God in ways it was never shown before. Of course, it’s NOT a something – but a someone --- Jesus Christ, who Pope Francis says is the very face of God’s mercy.
So if we want to understand God – we have to understand Jesus – we must get inside the mind and heart of Christ.
If we want to know what God expects of us – we simply need to understand what Jesus asked of his followers.
If we want to see as God sees – we simply need to try to look at the world through the eyes of Jesus.
And if we want to know how God wants us to act, we only need to look to Jesus – to see what he did, and to listen to what he said, observe what was important to him, and even what disappointed him.
All in all, perhaps it was not bad advice Jesus gave to Peter – “get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
Get behind me – that is follow me a little longer – and learn from me.
It is only after we commit to following after Jesus – commit to getting behind him --- that we can begin to think as God does – not as human beings do.
And then my mother and your mother – and anyone else who hears our words and sees our actions can say – even with a little pride: you’re just like your Father!
Moments in time...