Indeed, one would think that in all those parts of the world that have been blessed with the announcement of the Christian faith, as well as the regions marked by Judaism and those where there is knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, God should be recognised as loving Father.
Certainly this is partly the case… But does this knowledge really go deep? Is the encounter with God truly the experience that rejoices the heart and permeates everything; the experience that sets us in motion to speak of this God to all people?
In the book of Hosea (11:1,3-4) the Lord says:
“When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I myself took them by the arm, but they did not know that I was the one caring for them, that I was leading them with human ties, with leading-strings of love, that, with them, I was like someone lifting an infant to his cheek, and that I bent down to feed him”.
Even more evidently the fatherhood of God is manifested in the coming of his Son into the world: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).
What would happen if people were to meet God as He really is, if they were to become aware of His fatherly love, if all the false images they still have of Him were to be overcome and people were to really come into contact with Him?
Certainly many who do not yet know God or who have wrong conceptions about Him would turn to Him. This would dispel the idea of an excessively severe God, but also that overly sweet image of God which presents Him to us as if our Father did not take man’s sin seriously.
Many would return home, leaving behind the powers of darkness. God’s light would spread and true brotherhood would emerge among men, under the loving gaze of the Heavenly Father.
A dream? A utopia?
No! This is what God wants:
“May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me” (Jn 17:21).