As the days count down and my flights are booked for the next chapter of my life I thank God for the last few months in Medjugorje!

Perhaps it could all be summed up by this morning’s homily!Jesus called God ‘dad’ or ‘daddy’, He knew His dad that well!Perhaps my journey and yours is to come to that same intimate friendship with our daddy!

I know that for me I still find this a challenge as it is so alien from the culture in which I grew up in!Like many cultures, the irish one has a lot of suffering and at times the suffering hardened hearts and somehow moulded cultures!Being a man involved being strong, not showing emotions and certainly not showing affection in a lot of families!

This type of behaviour was passed from one generation to the next and so it wouldn’t be fair to blame our father’s for their lack of affection and friendship as they too never got it!So when Jesus calls God ‘daddy’ we feel that the Father is warm, tender, gentle, understanding and so we can dare to talk to Him too as our daddy!

As a child I had a pet cat. I could never imagine God loving me in a gentle way as I never experienced healthy male affection. However I had a cat and I loved it to bits!So my prayer went like this’Father God, love me like I loved my cat, I’m not used to being loved so you are going to have to be patient with me….’

He heard my prayer!And so today maybe you are dying for the love of the Father and find it difficult to imagine.But maybe you too had a pet cat or dog or rabbit or even goldfish or a spider that you liked!And so you could start there and say this prayer:

‘Heavenly Father, I don’t know how to love or what to even do but I would love to experience your gentle kind love like Jesus did. Please open my heart and love me and care for me like I did for my pet cat/dog/rabbit/rat/kangaroo….

Show me your love so that I too may come to know you as a gentle daddy’