June 21, 2020: The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner
Happy Father’s Day! Today, we honor all of our dads as they provide for and care for their family. It’s not easy to be faithful and effective as a Father. Yet, Fathers who bring blessing to their families are essential to the thriving and flourishing of our community and culture. We thank God for the gift of Fatherhood and we ask for God’s blessings upon all of our dads living and deceased.
As people of faith, we believe in God who is a Father. On this Father’s Day weekend, we get a glimpse into the way in which God cares for us precisely as our Father. In the Gospel, Jesus gathers his followers to encourage them to move beyond their fears. He reveals that our God is a loving Father who provides for his family. In the midst of the vale of tears in which we live, we have a God who wants us to rely on Him for all of our needs. Jesus begins: “Do not be afraid.” It’s a message we need to hear. We are beset on all sides with fears for the future. Yet, fears do not bear fruit. Jesus reminds us that God the Father is attentive to our anxiety. He says to consider the life a sparrow: “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Our Father cares. He is aware of our needs. He yearns to shoulder our burdens. He wants to share the blessings of His life with us.
However, it is not sufficient to know that God cares. In order to receive this care, we have to be open to caring for others. Jesus says; “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” “Acknowledging Jesus” certainly means that we believe and profess Jesus as the Son of God. Yet it goes beyond that. It implies also that we acknowledge the familial relationship with everyone else who also calls God “Father.”
I remember asking a group of 2nd graders, “If God is our Father and Jesus is our brother, how are we spiritual related to each other?” Now the boys found it challenging to say that the girls were their “sisters” in Jesus. At that age, cooties are still a thing! So, I randomly pointed at a young boy and asked him how he was related to the girl sitting next to him. In my haste, though, I had chosen the only set of siblings in the class, and so when I said: “How are you related to her, he said with strong, smiling voice: “She’s my REAL sister!”
As a culture we find ourselves embattled. Fears about health and finance, racism and violence: we are finding it difficult to relate to each other as God’s family. But if God is our Father, then we are His sons and daughters. We are spiritual siblings. Now sibling don’t always agree or get along, but they do share a bond. A bond that calls them to care for each other. If we want God to be our Father, if we want God to care for us, we have to be able to say “She’s my REAL sister” or “He’s my REAL brother” even to those who we don’t like or even consider to be enemies. God’s providential care only bears fruit in our lives when we treat others like family. As God’s family we are called to be a model for the world in reflecting and radiating family care for one another.
In considering God as our Father, I’d like to share a brief poem called “The Father’s Blessing.”
The Father’s Blessing
Our God cares. Of our needs, He is aware. Of our fears, He does bear. Of His blessings, we are called to share. Our God cares.
Let us confidently ask Our Father for all our needs and open our hearts to share His blessings with our family of faith.