"Master, show us the Father"

People have many different images and conceptions of God. Those different mental images often lead to very different conclusions about what God wants for us and for the world, an they radically affect our ability to have a relationship with Him.

Who is God, really? Is he the angry old man with the long beard and massive book of judgement?

In today's Gospel, Jesus answers the question: If you've seen him, you have seen God.

Think about that for a moment. The implications are profound. If, as the Lord says: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father," then many of our doubts and fears are automatically unfounded.

For example, is some negative situation that is going on in your life a result of God punishing you for something you've done? 

Of course not. That is totally inconsistent with Jesus as revealed in the New Testament--the same Jesus who refuses to condemn the woman caught in adultery. The same Jesus that offered himself completely on the cross for your sake, out of love for you.

Jesus finally puts a human face on God, and there is nothing more to reveal. This is why a personal relationship with him that is rooted in the Gospels is so important: he is our 'way' to God, in that to know him is to truly know God.

So bring him your doubts and questions. Listen to his answers. Let him purify and correct your ideas. There is no angry Zeus with thunderbolts, only the Lamb of God...the one who "did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28).

The good news is that, in Christ, we "know the way". God is accessible to us. So, it is time to lay down all of those other images and take up the only one that really matters.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,  and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven."
(Colossians 1:15-20)

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