Pulling off a really good surprise is hard work. This past Monday was my birthday and Maria was being coy about what we were going to be doing that day. She told me to pack a bag and just be open. Even though I was tired from doing a lot of work around our house I took a deep breath and went along for the ride. We met Joshua, our youngest son, for lunch and here is what happened:
I was totally shocked and overjoyed that Joey and Sarah had traveled from Boston and Orlando just to be with me on my birthday. Maria and the kids had kept this from me for months as they prepared and planned. The "reveal" was worth more than words can describe. This week's Gospel speaks to an even greater reveal.
At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Matthew 11:25-30
Prior to Jesus' incarnation God had always been largely hidden from all but a few privileged prophets. It was obviously challenging for the people of Israel to understand what Jesus meant when He talked about His relationship with His Father. In this passage we hear Jesus clearly say that He alone reveals His Father. Jesus also goes on to explain how He Himself is there waiting with open arms to embrace us and to support us in all we do in life.
I can not describe to you just how wonderful and fulfilling that embrace was with Joey and Sarah. While Joey and Sarah were only here for three days we had many moments where we connected in a deep and loving way. I saw it in their eyes and felt it in their hugs that they know how much I love them. Words cannot express how grateful I am that they sacrificed their time in the midst of their busy lives to be with me for my birthday. They revealed their love for me, which in turn allowed me to truly appreciate that my children know my love for them.
I can only hope and pray that they always know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am here for them. The most amazing thing is God loves us even more than we love our own children. Here is my prayer today.
"I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth! You have revealed to me, as a father, the gift of Your love for us, Your children. I am grateful, Lord, that we as a family know love as you intended it to be. Thank you Father for sharing your Son with us all. May we always "Come to Your Son" for that loving embrace that gives us rest. And may we in turn be given the strength to meekly and humbly reveal Your love to the world."