And Behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).
Due to the work of Jesus Christ, our redeemer, the curtain that kept us from unity with God has been forever torn in two. When the soldier thrust his lance into the side of our Lord blood and water flowed out, the curtain was torn open, and we all were given access to His Most Sacred Heart.
Recently while our family was gathering in the kitchen to prepare for dinner, my 10-year-old son said, “I don’t think Jesus looked like that on the Cross.”
Having caught my attention, I asked him what he thought He looked like. “I think he’s got big muscles and a hairy chest.” I had to pause for a moment before I could respond… he was describing me!
I gathered my thoughts and explained that indeed sometimes sacred art misses the mark of who they are trying to convey. I told him that I thought he was right, Jesus was a very strong man, and wasn’t the skinny figure often depicted on so many crucifixes. He was a carpenter for crying out loud… he had to have had big calloused hands and broad shoulders from carrying heavy lumber to do his work.
I also gave him a glimpse into the strength that Jesus must have had to carry a 110lb wood beam up hill to Golgotha after being beaten within an inch of His life and going without food or water for hours.
When I began to reflect how my son had described the way Jesus looked on the cross, it became a palpable reality that I am the face of God to him. Fathers in particular have a crucial and distinct role to convey to our children something of who God is. Our children’s first and longest lasting impression of who God is lies in the hands of their father.
Most of us can relate to this truth if we contemplate how our dad’s came off to us growing up and then dig into our image of God at that time. The two almost always mirror each other. We may have viewed God, or perhaps still do, as cold, distant, or harsh. This is not who God is, but if we don’t allow Him to tell us who He is through Scripture and the Eucharist then we tend to construct our own image of who He is through our past experiences.
Just as we were all given access to God the Father through the Most Sacred Heart of His Son, our children are given access to Jesus through us… their dads.
This is a great responsibility, too big for any one of us to handle. It’s crucial that we run to Jesus so we can come to know Him, and allow Him to pour His divine life into each of us in order that we share it with others… especially our children. There’s no better place to encounter the lover of your soul than in the Eucharist.
So, I challenge each of you to consider your image of Jesus. Does this image coincide with what’s been revealed to us through Scripture? What image of God are you giving your son(s) or daughter(s)? Would He appear distant, annoyed, put off… or is He joyful, interested, and merciful?
We need to become like Jesus. So go to Him in the Blessed Sacrament and spend time there asking how we fall short of conveying Him to our children.
Make time this week to encounter Him in a holy hour. Become intentional about what’s important to you. Go to Mass and receive His divine life which He desperately wants to share with you. Allow Him to show you who He is!
Man is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, [and he] cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self (Gaudium et Spes 24).