Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Recently, visiting a friend in another city, I was taken on a tour I did not expect: I was taken to the zoo. It was filled with children and their parents – it is remarkable how children so enjoy looking at animals. Perhaps it is a childlike thing to do. It was noon time, and the animals were largely napping. The lion king and at his side, the lioness. The monkey king and his chief consort. Some of the tropical birds were perched sociably grooming one another. It was striking how the larger mammals seemed to naturally come in pairs.
And so it is with the being who straddles the animal and the divine world, for “it is not good for man to be alone” and God created humanity male and female. The dignity of both is infinitely greater than that of the animals. And the dignity of man is unique, for the precious gift of fatherhood shares in the very being of God Himself. It is St. Paul who says this explicitly: “I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” What our Protestant friends like to call “headship” is in fact engraven in the animal kingdom itself, but articulated and lifted up to a godly dignity in the human realm, whose king is God Himself.
Talk of the family is much in the air today – talk of God perhaps less so. Yet this self-effacing God has revealed Himself to us as Father, and chosen to share the precious gift of fatherhood with the human family, for as God’s Word tells us, it is from God the Father that “every family in heaven and on earth is named.”