This Sunday, we celebrate Christ our Savior who makes no distinction between classes of people. He lifts us up and makes us all rich in faith. We praise the Lord who heals and restores the afflicted and who gives us eyes of faith to see and ears of faith to listen and loosened tongues to praise. We also celebrate Father’s Day. We say Happy Father’s Day to fathers, grandfathers, and stepfathers. Today’s celebration has given us also reason to pause, to pray for, and to reflect on our fathers whom we honor.
Today’s Scripture readings offer us an invitation to become humble instruments of healing in Jesus’ hands by giving voice to the voiceless, the needy, and the marginalized in our society. Today’s Scripture also invites us to open our ears to hear the word of God and to allow the Holy Spirit to loosen our tongues to convey the Good News of God’s love and salvation to others through our lives.
The first Reading, (Is 35:4-7), reminds us that God’s eyes are constantly focused on the helpless. God especially cares for “the frightened, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the mute,” and he encourages the powerless to “be strong and fearless for He will never abandon His people in need of His grace.
In today’s second Reading, (Jas 2:1-5), the apostle gives us some basic, challenging principles of social justice. He exhorts Christians to show no partiality based on external appearance and to practice God’s “preferential option for the poor.” He warns the faithful against scorning or shaming the poor while showing special consideration to the rich. His words equally apply to all types of prejudices and injustice in our families, churches and society. So, to favor some people and disregard others based on their race, economic, social or religious background is a terrible evil against God and man.
Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus, by healing a deaf man with a speech impediment, fulfills Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” The ailments listed by Isaiah are symbolic of our interior illnesses: blindness to the needs of our neighbor, unwillingness to hear God’s voice and the inability to speak words of praise, apology, forgiveness, and gratitude and to fight for justice and integrity of living. Through this miracle story, Mark also reminds us that no one can be a follower of the Lord without reaching out to the helpless and to defend his or her faith through charity and unconditional love and sacrifice. And we also need to know when to keep silent about Christ and live Christ’s life, and let our lives speak.
The Church advises us today that we need to allow Jesus to heal our spiritual deafness, muteness, and blindness. For Jesus’ compassionate touch will help us to hear the cries of the poor and the sick, and to show kindness, mercy and consideration to others. His healing touch will also help us convey peace and hope to those around us. We need to help Jesus to heal the deaf and the mute today. Let us lend Jesus our hands to give the touch that heals the sick. Let us lend Jesus our tongues to speak to the spiritually hungry through us. Let us lend Jesus our hearts to touch the lives of people in our day through us, just as Jesus touched the lives of millions through saintly souls.
Happy Father’s Day
Today, on this Father’s Day, we are 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 Australia 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 dedication, endurance, and love. Father’s Day challenges Christian fathers to be role models to their children.
A Father’s Day card reads: “Being a father can be expensive, time-consuming, frustrating, confusing, and emotionally draining. Actually, it’s a lot like golf.”
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, faith, 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 who do well to live Christ’s life and let their lives speak.
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. We are reminded, time after time, of the number of children growing up fatherless – due to varying reasons.
There is one Dad, however, who doesn’t always get a lot of honor on Father’s Day. That is the “World’s Greatest Dad,” OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6). He is our spiritual Daddy, actively involved in all areas of our lives. It is he on whom we lean in times of pain and hurt; it is he on whom we call in times of need; it is he who provides for us in all ways – practical, emotional, and spiritual. He wants us to think of him as “Dad.” This being so, let us take this Father’s Day to honor him, the REAL “World’s Greatest Dad.” Many of us pray the “Our Father” day after day, without paying attention to, or experiencing, the love and providence of our Heavenly Father. Let us pray the Our Father during this Holy Mass realizing the meaning of each clause and experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father for us. May all earthly fathers draw strength from their Heavenly Father!
On this Father’s Day, please don’t forget to pray for us your Spiritual Fathers – men who are called to be Fathers of an immensely large Parish family through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. God bless you all!
Fr Jude CSSp