All of us pray almost everyday the prayer “Our Father…”. Jesus himself has taught us this prayer and thus has initiated us into a new relationship with God. We need to understand the deep significance of this relationship.
First of all, by teaching us to call God “Our Father”, Jesus wants to establish a new relationship, a divine filiation with God, the Father of us all. Hence, St. John, the beloved Apostle has written in the Gospel: “…to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
However, by addressing to Mary Magdalene as “my Father” and ‘your Father’ (Cf. John 20:17), Jesus reveals that his relationship is not the same as ours. He wants us to be aware that his relationship is unique and it is a natural filiation; whereas our relationship is by adoption, received as a gratuitous gift from God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “We can invoke God as “Father” because he is revealed to us by his Son and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of, nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God” (CCC #2780).
By having taught us to invoke God as “Our Father”, Jesus Christ has established a new communion between us and God. The Church, which is the community of believers and the baptized members, is where, this new communion with one and the same Father is created (Cf. CCC # 2790). By loving us as his children, God makes us members of his family. This develops a familiarity and confidence that prompts us to ask him like children and at the same time to entrust ourselves totally into his hands.
“…If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him” (Romans 8:31).
With confidence, let us rely on the love of Our Father
Fr. Arul Joseph V.