Second Sunday in Lent – Cycle A
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?
I worked with teenagers with addictions in the past and can see the “daddy hunger.” But on a more personal note, I also have been blessed with a great father (not perfect so sometimes may have had a little daddy hunger myself =) But in general I can see how he has reflected the Heavenly Father’s love to me (always providing for me financially, helping me with my car, etc.) but more specifically providing for me emotionally; on one particular occasion, on recently becoming a mother and struggling with certain questions on how to raise our new baby, I left the house frustrated and upset, my dad was also leaving and instead of going the usual way out of the neighborhood he followed me and I texted him as I saw him drive by why he went that way, he responded, just wanted to see that you are okay. Then without any discussion of what was going on, he texted, you are a great mom just the way you are, you don’t have to try to be anyone else. For me in that moment I felt God had answered my prayers and shown his fatherly care for me. God bless fathers! May we always remember to also pray for them, what an important role they have!