I want to See the Father

“I want to see the Father!” I looked down with surprise at four-year-old Lisa who minutes before had been squirming from one sister to another. It was Sunday afternoon Mass during our annual Mother’s Day celebration for the women served in our Visitation Mission. The chapel was full to the brim, with standing room only and an overflow spilling onto the sun-soaked yard.

Lisa had ended up in my arms as we began to recite the familiar words of the Our Father and quite suddenly she quieted down. She listened intently to the words and when we finished, peered up at me with her wide brown eyes, and said simply: “I want to see the Father!” Looking down at Lisa, the biblical scene in the Upper Room flashed before my eyes. I heard the apostle Philip saying: “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” (Jn 14:8) I recalled Jesus’ gentle rebuke: “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”(Jn 14:9)

I whispered to Lisa: “Look! Jesus shows us the Father!” and I focused her attention on the altar where the celebrating priest was raising the Host and praying, “Behold the Lamb of God…” Lisa gazed at Him silently. When the time came for Holy Communion I asked her: “Do you want to come with me when I receive Him?” She nodded her head in affirmation. We processed together hand in hand, bowed in Adoration, I received Our Lord, and we walked back together to our pew. I smiled at Lisa, but to my surprise she stuck out her chin and pouted at me. She wanted to receive Jesus, too!

As Mass ended and Lisa dashed outside to romp with the other children, I was struck by the reality of the prayer she had voiced. Doubtless for a child whose earthly father has failed her in many ways there was a human desire for a father who would love and cherish her.  But her prayer nevertheless revealed a deeper truth: the ultimate desire of every human heart is to know the love of the Father, to see and be seen by Him.  But how often do we, who, like Philip, have been with Jesus “all this time”, miss the reality of His words, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father ” (John 14:9).

Every single day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, He again makes present His sacrifice of love offered to the Father and sweeps us up into that Mystery of loving Communion in the Holy Eucharist. Every day we can see the Father in Jesus and in His love poured out. How often do we take for granted the awesome privilege for which little Lisa’s pouting lip revealed her great desire?

 Father, we thank you for revealing your Face to us through your Son. We pray that we would learn to appreciate more and more deeply the gift of the Holy Eucharist in our lives. May our hearts pray this day not only, “Show us the Father!” but “Jesus, thank you for bringing me into the Father’s embrace of love!”