Readings for June 21, 2020
Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
My focus is often on what’s going to happen to me in the next ten minutes or two hours or five days. And the closer Jesus gets to his passion, he seems inordinately focused on suffering. This was a particularly poignant realization for me because of the pandemic, and the recent protests and riots calling for new, just systems for everyone. Suffering exists, often showing itself in difficult, sometimes spectacular, fashion. As such, why is it that when Jesus is speaking to his disciples about their fears of the suffering that is to come, he starts talking about birds and the hairs on their heads? Why does it matter the cost of a couple of insignificant birds or even that God may know how many hairs I have on my head? These are pretty small matters compared to systemic injustice.
It seems only the most impassioned ornithologist would really care when a sparrow dies. Only the most meticulous barber would care about the number of hairs on our heads. Yet, think about it. Wouldn’t we want that ornithologist to be the one studying birds and wouldn’t we want that barber to cut our hair? And so it is with great joy that I say: This is our God! The most impassioned and most meticulous Creator imaginable is our Father. He counts because we count to Him. We matter to Him. I matter to Him.
God does not ignore the seemingly unimportant. He loves the details. And He unabashedly loves each one of us. And He wants us to love others as He loves us. St. Augustine wrote that “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” As a father, I tell my daughters, “I love each of you more than all the rest of them.” What Augustine is telling us, and what I attempt to tell my daughters, is that there is a love for all that does not negate, but instead emboldens the love for each. That love is our hope, especially in our suffering. Cling to it, remembering to love every individual as your Father loves you.
A Father’s Day blessing
Heavenly Father, You entrusted Your Son Jesus, the child of Mary, to the care of Joseph, an earthly father. Bless all fathers as they care for their families. Give them strength and wisdom, tenderness and patience; support them in the work they have to do, protecting those who look to them. May their love reflect the love you have for each of us. Bless them with Your love as we look to You for love and salvation, through Jesus Christ our rock and defender. Amen