Today’s gospel reading at Mass contain two statements of Our Lord that I’d like to call to your attention. Jesus is talking to a group of his fellow countrymen who say to him, “Our father is Abraham.” He replies, “If you WERE Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me. . . “
A bit farther down in that same passage, they say to him, “We have one father: God.” And again, Jesus replies, “If God WERE your father, you would love me for I came from God.”
In both these cases, Our Lord defines father and child in spiritual terms, not physical ones. Abraham is certainly the father of the Jewish people by race, that is, by physical descent. But Our Lord indicates that they are not really children of Abraham nor he their father because their intentions and behavior are not those of Abraham. Nor are they true children of God even though they were created by him and are members of his chosen people, because they don’t love Jesus, the beloved and only-begotten son of God.
Elsewhere in the gospel, Our Lord refers to this same idea again. An admiring woman calls out to him one day while he is preaching: Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you! In other words, blessed is your mother for having a son like you! But Jesus replies, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Again, it is not physical relationship that is important, but rather spiritual resemblance.
Our Lord regards us as his beloved children if we love him. And he says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Thus our keeping of the commandments proves our love of Christ, and our love of him makes us authentic disciples and even children of his. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.