Like father like son. We’ve all heard this before, right. You look at a son and he tends to emulate his father. Some of this comes from genetics – it’s in his nature to emulate dad. Other parts of this come from his natural desire to be like his daddy, to be cool, strong, confident, rough, bold, etc. Not unlike everyone else, I’ve noticed this aspect about sons for a long time (and not to leave out daughters either!).
But it was not until recently that I (JP) realized that this is the very message Jesus preached during his 3-year ministry on earth. Jesus says “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”. Got it, bold claim Jesus. But ok, I’ll try. And that is how it went for me for many years. But wait, there is more to his statement. There is a second part. There is an answer to the implicit question of “why” should I do this. Jesus says “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” It’s all about being children of God. Think about that! Divine children.
What does a divine child look like? Like Father, like son. If the Father loves unconditionally, then the son (and daughter of course) should do the same. …. What is love? …. Dad shows us. He came to earth and assumed a human body and nature, and showed us what love is. Love is unconditional, indifferent giving of yourself as a gift to others. This is the answer to all life’s greatest challenges. When you are so completely conformed to our Father in heaven that you can give of yourself freely in any and every situation, you are completely free, there is nothing that can hold you down. Isn’t that what Jesus was?
So free that he freely offered himself over to a people that not only disagreed with him, not only mocked him, not only spit in his face, slapped his face, and continually tried to trick him, no, this people also went so far as to scourge him, drive thorns in his skull, and then nail him to a cross to die. But Jesus was so full of love – nay, he IS LOVE – that no amount of force from the world could prevent him from giving of himself. And he gave his creation exactly what they needed: redemption from sin.
One day I was praying at mass for God to show Lorelei how much he loves her.
He told me “that is your job”.
Lorelei is now pregnant with our third child. For the first two pregnancies, I did not know Jesus very well.
I knew who he was, but I didn’t know him. I didn’t love him. Now everything is different. I can’t not try my very best to obey him if I am going to profess faith that he really is God. If he really is God, then I must do as he says, right? It’s just simple logic.
Thus, for this pregnancy I have been looking to Jesus in every aspect of our lives. This looks like a lot of service. This looks like a lot of self-less giving to Lorelei and my kids. This looks like a lot of fatigue and near burnout with my other two jobs. But you know what else it looks like? It looks like freedom. It looks like great joy to be able to follow Jesus and obey him, and watch what happens as he sanctifies me and gives me not only more strength to continue to serve, but he gives me joy in the serving. When I reflect on the challenges of the pregnancy, I find great purpose in continually committing to Jesus as I say to him, “Jesus, I love you, and I will serve you by serving my family.