a father's heart
"Which of the two did what the father wanted?" —Matthew 21:31
I am a father, and I want my children to live in God's love. If they act wrongly, I don't wish harm on them. Instead, I want them to repent and choose God's way. I want them to be free, restored, and healthy, not damaged for life because of any of their misdeeds. I want them to personally know God, experience His unconditional love (Eph 3:19), and rejoice always in His abundant mercy. I take no pleasure in punishing my children. Yet when necessary I punish them because I want them to change their hearts, learn to do right, and walk humbly with God (Mi 6:8).
God is our Father (Mt 6:9; Is 64:7). How much more does God the Father love us, His children, than does a human parent! The Father shows great kindness in punishing us promptly for sins instead of allowing sinful behavior to linger and merit a more serious punishment later (2 Mc 6:13-15). He assures His repentant children: "On that day you need not be ashamed of all your deeds, your rebellious actions against Me" (Zep 3:11). Jesus presented the father of the prodigal son as a model of God the Father. This father did not constantly remind his returning son of his prior rebellion and wrongs; instead, the father saw only with eyes of love and welcome. The things of the past were forgotten; God made all things new, especially His restored relationship with His repentant children (see Is 43:18-19; see also Rv 21:5).
God wants all His family present at His Son's Christmas birthday, including His sinful, rebellious children. Do what the Father wants (Mt 21:31). Repent, do His will, and welcome His Son Jesus.
Prayer: Father, give me a heart eager to do your will (Ps 40:9).
Promise: "No one incurs guilt who takes refuge in Him." —Ps 34:23
Praise: St. John suffered for Jesus while he was imprisoned for many months when he attempted to reform the Carmelites.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 28, 2010
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.