Reflecting on Matt. 17: 1-9
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “daddy hunger”, the term for whole generations of young men and women who grew up without their fathers in the home. Prisons are full of them―men who had no father to love them and so seek that “daddy love” from participation in gangs, and women who buy guns for felons and take enormous risks for dangerous men who give them the attention they crave.
I know hundreds of fabulous fathers, but incarcerated people often know the detached, violent, or demeaning father whose unloving presence serves as the backdrop for their lives. Dad can’t say “Good job, I’m proud of you” because he never heard it from his dad, who in turn never heard it from his. Scratch the surface of the life of a chronically depressed male of any age, and often (but certainly not always) you’ll find his emotionally unavailable father at the center of his wounds.
But not Jesus. From the moment of his baptism at the Jordan to this transfiguring moment of identity revelation on Mount Tabor, the Father tells Jesus who he is: My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Wouldn’t this world be a different place if children, boys in particular, heard this from their fathers on a regular basis? Yes, this is my beloved son. He makes me proud every day.
That’s the piece of heaven we learn about first in the gospels: Jesus is the beloved Son of a heavenly Father who claims him, and names him, and is well pleased with him. It’s that deep knowledge of being eternally loved that strengthens Jesus to go back down Tabor and face Jerusalem and his destiny.
In what ways do you witness “daddy hunger” in the world?