2020-06-2112th Sunday - Fathers DayRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

Today is Father`s Day. It is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a good Dad and it also provides us with an opportunity to thank our fathers for all that they have done for us

I was very fortunate in my life to have had a great Dad: Jesus says in today`s Gospel that "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself." My Dad made numerous sacrifices for our family. Because of his sacrifices and hard work, our family was blessed abundantly.

I think that many of the social problems that we have in contemporary society would be solved if we had more fathers take their responsibilities to their families more seriously.

On a related topic: Many of us Catholics have been intimidated by the challenge of Evangelicals who quote the Scripture passage of the Bible that says: "Call no one on earth your father, only one is your father in heaven." (Mt. 23:9) I think that we are intimidated because we feel that our knowledge of the Bible is limited. We also have a tradition of calling our priests Father and our leader Pope or "Papa" (Hoy Father). We also use the terms for religious - sisters, brothers and Mother Superior. Where does that tradition come from?

It comes from the Scriptures actually, especially from the letters of St. Paul. This became very clear to me when I read St. Paul`s first letter to the Thessalonians. Paul referred to himself as "gentle as a nursing mother" and shortly thereafter he said the he "treated each of you as a father treats his children." (Thes. 2:1-8)

To understand the initial passage call no one father, we have to understand that the meaning of the passage is not to look for titles of authority. All authority on earth stems from God. You would have no authority unless it came from God, Jesus said to Pilate. To be an authentic disciple of Christ is one of service and sacrifice on behalf of our neighbors and family as good fathers/mothers.

Using terms of endearment and affection emphasize that we are members of one family in Christ. These terms of affection help us to gain a better understanding of God.

Since we are all one family, we, as followers of Christ, have responsibilities to love another as brothers and sisters. That is much easier said than done.

But with God`s help, all things are possible.

I light of that I wish everyone, today, who as acted as a father to us by loving us as God loves us a Happy Father`s Day.

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