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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day Homily

A Father who is there for us

One morning a father knocked on his son’s bedroom door. “Teddy,” he calls out, “wake up!”
Teddy answers, “I don’t want to get up, Papa.”
The father shouts, “Get up. It’s Saturday and you have to go to practice today.”
Teddy shouts back, “I don’t want to go to practice.”
“And why not?” asks the father.
“Well, there are three reasons,” says Teddy. “First, practice is so dull; second, the kids tease me; third, I hate practice, especially on Saturday.”
The father leans against the door and says, “Well’ I’m going to give you three reasons why you must go to practice. First, because it is your duty as a member of the team; second because you are forty-five years old; and third, because you are the coach.”

Today is Father’s Day – a day of celebrating all those who get up every day in response to the Father’s knocking. Being a father means facing many struggles and difficulties. It means going to work – even when you would prefer to stay in bed because you know that your family depends on you. It means disciplining children so that they might grow up to be mature men and women. It means constantly looking out for your family, making every effort to ensure that they are protected.

Thank God we have a Heavenly Father who does all this and helps the fathers here on earth to do the same. Not a single sparrow falls to earth without the Father’s consent and no father is ever separated from our Father’s care and support. He too must discipline and encourage. He too must protect and nurture his children. He too must make of his family a house of love.

Fathers do not magically appear out of thin air, they are being continually formed from the day of their birth. The first stone of their foundation is laid in the love that they see exists between their own father and mother. A child of a loving family will become a loving father himself. Another stone is laid at baptism where the child learns that his entire life, including his fatherhood is rooted in God. As the child grows both in the love of his family and in the faith of the Church more stones in his foundation for fatherhood are added. This is why it is important that families learn the teachings and traditions of the Church and participate in the Church’s sacramental life. For, as a boy grows he will come to see the importance of the faith in his father’s life, he will come to learn to trust in God as he trusts in his own father. My own father didn’t go to religious conferences or constantly pray the rosary, but he made a consistent effort to make his faith a part of his life, of going to Church on holy days, of instilling in his children a desire to know God. He knew that he didn’t have all the answers, but he trusted that God did. Since one of his children has answered the call to the priesthood and the other is now the faithful father of four – he did pretty well I must say.

This doesn’t mean that once that boy becomes a father, life will be easy – indeed as any father here can say – it isn’t. But if you have been raised to be a good Christian man – you will have all the necessary preparation for being a good Christian father.

Indeed, God gives fathers everything they need to raise their children well. He gives them hands that can create and can comfort. He gives them mouths to speak words of encouragement and instruction. He gives them eyes and ears to see and hear the good. Yet, the same hand that can console can also strike. The same mouth that can speak words of blessing can also curse. The same eyes and ears that seek out the good in a child can close themselves to everything but the bad. God has gives fathers all the tools they need, but fathers must still use those tools properly.
This is where the most important tool is used – God gives all fathers a heart that mirrors his own so that everything that a father does is rooted in love whether he is disciplining his child or spending quality time together.

Certainly this can seem like an extremely high standard. Who of us can ever live up to the example of God? The ultimate example of fatherhood? Even a model like St. Joseph can seem impossible to emulate since I can say with certainty none of us sons was as well behaved as Jesus was. So being a father means making mistakes. It means that sometimes things won’t work out the way that you wanted. If you have young children this usually takes place when you are out at a restaurant and the only sounds you can hear are of your young ones crying.

But being a father also means hearing a child tell you that they love you. It means coming home to a hug after a long day of work. It means the pride that you feel in the accomplishments of your sons and daughters and the pride you get in sharing those accomplishments with others. It means choosing to create life.

There are going to be good days and bad days but a father perseveres and grows in grace and love through these times. He has come to know that God is a Father who keeps his promises and who will keep him under his protection as he lives through the struggles of being a good father. He perseveres because every day God knocks on his door and tells him that it’s time to get up. If God gives us a call, he will give us every grace to remain faithful to it.


Blogger Sushanth said...

Get beautiful video greetings and images on the occasion of Fathers Day

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