Happy Father’s Day
Happy Father’s Day to all who have or had fathers, grandfathers, or stepfathers, or who are fathers, grandfathers, or stepfathers! These holidays of our culture are not exactly high holy days of the Church, but they do give us reason to pause, to pray for, and to reflect on our fathers whom we honor. Five weeks ago, we offered Mass for our moms. Today, on this Father's Day, we are doing the same – offering our dads, living or dead, on the altar of God during this Holy Mass and invoking our Heavenly Father’s blessings on them. Modern America appears to be unique in its honoring of fathers on a special day. Today we celebrate, congratulate, and pray for the men who continue to reflect the Divine qualities of fatherhood as they lovingly establish, nourish, and maintain their families. Fathers are a blessing, and we thank them for blessing us with lives of strength, courage, dedication, endurance, and love.
Many fathers today are role models, like St. Thomas More and St. Louis Martin (father of the Little Flower), heroes of our Faith. Even in these days, fathers are expected to be the providers for, and the protectors of, the family. They are also supposed to be attuned emotionally and spiritually to their wives and children and to be able to balance careers with family life. Fathers struggle to overcome temptation and conflict. They make sacrifices day after day for their families. They try to give their youngsters the kind of model that, surely, they deserve above all else, a model of goodness, holiness, faithful men of God, Catholic gentlemen, trust in God, and fidelity to the teachings of the Church. This is what Father's Day should remind us of. This is a time for all fathers to reflect upon their duties as responsible and well-integrated men. True fatherhood demands commitment. Commitment demands maturity, sacrifice, and love. Fatherhood also demands responsibility. Every true father will take responsibility for all of his actions. Our nation has an urgent need for good fathers. But while the idea of fatherhood is a good one, the reality we see on earth is sometimes quite different. Some fathers abandon their children, beat them, ridicule them, ignore them, abuse them, and so damage them psychologically for life. Even good fathers have their limits. Unfortunately, we unduly sentimentalize fatherhood, the media often ridicule and make fun of it, and we treat it with contempt. We are reminded time after time of the number of children growing up fatherless because their fathers have abandoned them or their fathers have been unfaithful.
We are given examples of five Fathers from The Bible: Enoch, a father who walked with God as a great man of Faith. Noah, who was concerned about saving his children; he taught them about righteousness. He also walked with God, leaving a great example to follow. Abraham, who was given the title "Father of all of them that believe". He trained them as mentioned in Genesis 18:19. Joshua, who trusted God when others would not. Joshua didn't care what other fathers were doing; he and his family were going to serve the Lord! St. Joseph the Foster Father of Jesus who is the Patron Saint of Fathers. Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in 1870. Having died in the "arms of Jesus and Mary" according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death. As the family is attacked in this world especially fatherhood we need St Joseph to intercede and aid the fathers to live their faith and lead their families.
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