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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

In the Hands of the Father

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Or if he asks him for a fish, gives him instead of the fish a snake? Or if he asks him for an egg, does he give him a scorpion?

(Luke 11:11-12 NKJV)

I am a father of three sons. I have known all along that I will not be able to give them everything I would like, nor will I be perfectly as they would like me. After all, this is also true in reverse. I am serene in my soul for not having made my presence lacking so far. All three got on the swing and my hands were there to push them in the wind. If not always accompanying them in the mornings, at least on the way out of school I was there waiting for them, and for the last one I still am. How many nights spent rocking them or rocking them to sleep..., diapers, feedings, sicknesses... then swimming pool, soccer, basketball... they get older and change worries, while I stay by their side. I might feel fulfilled, or at least free from remorse, but the Gospel reminds me that although I strive to care for my children and give them good gifts, I still remain "wicked" according to v. 13: "If you therefore, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children..." It means that the worst person should be able to have good feelings toward his children.


Unfortunately, this is not always the case! Some children, in fact, have chills just thinking about their parents, having been victims of abuse and abuse. Hands that instead of a caress or a tender cuddle have left perennial marks in their underwear. A burden of nastiness and violence that disfigured their hearts was their only legacy, making the word "dad" pregnant with a brutality that does not belong to them, such that many have enjoyed finding themselves orphans. I hope that some of those who read me may find new hope in knowing that God is the father of orphans and non-orphans, and the prophet declares, "But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand" (Isaiah 64:8). The people were in a condition of deep desolation and in need of divine intervention, and Isaiah is sadly aware that no one is calling on His name. When one is at the mercy of iniquity, an innocent victim, one can no longer perceive human warmth or even the divine voice, or even desire it.


The prophet presents God as a Father and us all as children, just as Jesus will declare and teach. His fatherly help proceeds from the love He has for us, His children. We are the clay and He the potter, despite the fragility of our being, we are earth in His hands. He is the one who can shape our life by perfecting it, improving it with new possibilities and giving us the full meaning of fatherhood. If I could express just one prayer for you, I would ask that you could feel His hands on your life, for in spite of everything He has never left or forgotten you. The evangelist Luke reminds us that "how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him". There are gifts that only He can give us if we ask Him. Do not hesitate to seek Him. Turn your gaze toward His house.


The prophet Jeremiah (18:1-6) witnesses in a workshop the potter's work of shaping: the clay cracks and breaks in the hands of the craftsman who does not throw it away, but places it back on the wheel and makes a new pot. The LORD does with his children just as the potter does. Whereas Isaiah's cry was a call for God's intervention, which appeared distant and that He had forsaken His people, in Jeremiah God Himself affirms that He is a potter and we clay in His hands, aware that the work we set out to do does not always come to completion in a swift and crack-free manner. Even when there are cracks, the Lord does not throw away the clay, partly because often the cracks are caused by others. He, however, patiently and lovingly softens the dough with the Spirit, and then makes a new work, a new vessel. Into this vessel He then deposits His Spirit and His word. The One who lays His hands on us is our Father and He is great in benignity and mercy. If we can no longer see or hear Him, it is not because He has turned away from us; He could not and never would; He is and will be the Father! Let His hands grasp you!


 

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan #13

March 20, Joshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20

March 21, Joshua 7-9; Luke 1:21-38

March 22, Joshua 10-12; Luke 1:39-56

March 23, Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80

March 24, Joshua 16-18; Luke 2:1-24

March 25, Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52

March 26, Joshua 22-24; Luke 3


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