Last Sunday we began reading from the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John. This chapter is so lengthy that the liturgy has divided it into five parts over five Sundays. The story began last Sunday with the familiar episode of the miracle of the loaves. Jesus fed five thousand people with five barley loaves and a couple of fish. The importance of this event can be seen in the fact that it is the only miracle of Jesus which is recorded in all four Gospels. The manner in which it is related by each evangelist leads people of faith to think of the Eucharist.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"....On this 4th of July weekend, consider with me the importance of these words. First, that we were created. A belief in God is the foundation on which our nation was begun. We did not spring out of the earth, or simply evolve from an ape. We were created; a divine hand is responsible for our existence. No human fabrication, no king, no government can account for who we are. Our human spirit and our human dignity are from God's hand. And as our nation tries to move forward I am mindful of Pope Francis who said: Building bridges between people is not possible unless God is acknowledged.
Jarius is a man filled with faith and desperation; his 12 year old daughter is near death. He runs through town, finds Jesus and falls at his feet. Come quickly!...Without hesitation Jesus follows, Jairus leading him through the crowd. Suddenly Jairus looks back and Jesus is no longer following. Rather he has stopped and a crowd is gathering around him.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Happy Father's Day! God bless all you men whom God has called to lead your family. May God give you the grace to fulfill that vocation to which you have been called.
Being a father carries many responsibilities. No wonder so many run away from this calling. You must provide for your families materially, spiritually and emotionally. You must bring home the bacon, be a leader of prayer, and be a rod and staff that give your families courage.
Someone has pointed out that our understanding of God, the Father, is heavily influenced by our experience of our earthly fathers. No human father is perfect, or even close to it. We are all dysfunctional to some extent. But, if we have experienced kindness and compassion in our fathers on earth, then that will go a long way to trusting our Father in heaven. And unfortunately the reverse is also true: Bad paternal experiences make it difficult to pray.
May you all enjoy the warmth and affection of your families today.