God the Perfect Parent ~ First Sunday Advent B

God the Perfect Parent ~ First Sunday Advent B

Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7; Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Mark 13:33-37

         Isaiah, in today’s first reading, names God “Lord, … our father”. This is one of the few times that the Old Testament names God a father, or in Hebrew ab, אָב.[i] In continuity with the Old Testament but with a difference, the New Testament frequently refers to God as Father.

In the New Testament, Jesus reveals that the term Father is not just a title among many for God but rather signifies God as God is. God is the perfect father for as the Catechism teaches, “no one is father as God is Father.”[ii] This is because God is the perfect parent, and we are his adopted children through Jesus Christ. 

The Catechism adds that God’s perfect parenthood, God’s “paternal tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood”. This image of motherhood, highlights, writes the Catechism, the intimate tenderness between God and creation.

Jesus affirms God’s paternal tenderness by teaching us to pray to Our Father in heaven and by teaching that Our Heavenly Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). One way that Jesus brings out the image of motherhood when describing God’s tender mercy is by comparing God to a mother hen. “How often would I” says Jesus, “have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wing (Matthew 23:37)”.

During this season of Advent, we are to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day and at the end of time by taking time to “be alert” to listen to all the many ways that God as the perfect parent speaks to us through our mothers, through our fathers, and through all of creation.

Ordinarily, to hear God, our loving Father, speak to us through creation, ordinarily, to hear God, our loving Father, speak to us through the fatherly and motherly qualities of our brothers and sisters, requires much faith, for so often what we are listening to is obviously imperfect, and yet that is exactly what God in His infinite love has chosen to speak to us through. 

God speaks to us through the faces of our brothers and sisters repeatedly, especially because God has taken on our human flesh by being born on Christmas Day. Our faith in the incarnation, in the birth of God as a little human baby is to interpret today’s Psalm (80) by which we asked that we see God’s face. The Psalmist prays “let us see your face and we shall be saved.” 

To what extent has our faith informed us that we see the face of God through the faces of our brothers and sisters, no matter how imperfect they are, and that our love of God is verified, is proven by the love that we display to those many human faces we encounter this day?

Soon we will be receiving the Eucharistic Jesus and will become even more intense dwellings of God’s presence. May we allow the light of God, His truthful love to shine through our human faces and may we recognize this divine light shining through our brothers and sisters, even if this light is very dim and hard to perceive. 

Advent Blessings ~ Father Peter


[i] Deut. 32:6, 1 Chr. 22:10, Prov. 6:20, Is. 9:6, 22:21, 63:16, 64:8, Jer. 3:19, 31:9; Brant Pitre, “First Sunday in Advent (Year B),” catholicproductions.com. 

[ii] CCC 239. “By calling God “Father”, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.”

“Come to Me,” Gregory Norbet.

Public Domain, https://www.maxpixels.net/Merciful-Father-Prodigal-Son-Close-Up-Altar-2629952.

Public Domain, https://www.maxpixels.net/Merciful-Father-Prodigal-Son-Close-Up-Altar-2629952.

Public Domain, https://www.maxpixels.net/Merciful-Father-Prodigal-Son-Close-Up-Altar-2629952.

Public Domain, https://www.maxpixels.net/Jesus-Merciful-Father-Good-Herdsman-1603691.

Public Domain, https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=aOU4fNNs&id=16EE22779E3098DF6C0C1E39A7AEE3A8C3368E3F&thid=OIP.aOU4fNNsnkUw3hNuSCdKzwAAAA&mediaurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prayprayer.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F04%2FForgiveness-Prayer-Act-of-Contrition-300×240.jpg&exph=240&expw=300&q=Jesus+Forgiveness&simid=608031257752112092&ck=5493BA3A14E2984B4519EA0664467B83&selectedindex=5&qft=+filterui%3alicense-L1&form=IRPRST&ajaxhist=0&vt=2&sim=1.

Public Domain, https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=256858&picture=god.

Public Domain, http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Jesus_weeps_over_Jerusalem_-_Simonet.jpg.

Public Domain, https://pxhere.com/en/photo/940571.

Public Domain, https://pxhere.com/en/photo/940571.

Public Domain, https://pxhere.com/en/photo/940571.

Public Domain, https://publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=21678.

Public Domain, https://www.pexels.com/photo/girl-kissing-her-mother-3517297/.

James Tissot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_(Le_retour_de_l%27enfant_prodigue)_-_James_Tissot.jpg.

Public Domain, https://www.wallpaperflare.com/search?wallpaper=jesus&page=3.

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First Sunday Advent B

Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7; Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Mark 13:33-37

I. First Reading Isaiah

         A. “Lord our father” – Few Times – Title among Many – Vs. NT Common Name – Signifies What God is

         B. Catechism “no one is father as God is Father.”[ii]

         C. Catechism adds God’s perfect parenthood, God’s “paternal tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood”. 

D. Image Motherhood – Catechism – intimate tenderness between God and creation.

II. Jesus Affirms God as Father

         A. Our Father Prayer – Teaching is Merciful

         B. Jesus – Image of Motherhood – Comparing to Mother Hen “How often would I” says Jesus, “have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wing (Matthew 23:37)”.

III. Advent

A. Preparing for Advent of Jesus – Alert Listen –God as Perfect Parent through Creation

B. Often Requires Much Faith – To Hear God through Fatherly-Motherly Qualities of our Brothers and Sisters

C. God speaks to us through the faces of our brothers and sisters repeatedly:

1. Faith in Incarnation

D. Faith in Incarnation Interprets Psalm “let us see your face and we shall be saved.” 

III. Conclusion

To what extent has our faith informed us that we see the face of God through the faces of our brothers and sisters, no matter how imperfect they are, and that our love of God is verified, is proven by the love that we display to those many human faces we encounter this day?

Soon we will be receiving the Eucharistic Jesus and will become even more intense dwellings of God’s presence. May we allow the light of God, His truthful love to shine through our human faces and may we recognize this divine light shining through our brothers and sisters, even if this light is very dim and hard to perceive. 

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