Homilies

Three Things we Learn from Dad – Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

David’s Moment of Glory

   King David was the one who slayed Goliath.

   It was said of him that while Saul had his thousands, David had his TEN thousands.

   David reunited a fragmented Israel back into one nation.

Yet, I ponder that none of these were his brightest moment. David shined the most in today’s first reading. What’s the context? After David committed adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, he quickly had Uriah killed to cover up the pregnancy and then carried on as if it was no big deal, almost as if he just did what needed to be done. At this moment God sent Nathan, a prophet, to relay to David the story of a poor man and rich man. The poor man had nothing except a little lamb, whom he diligently cared for. He was so close to him lamb that you could say it was almost like a child to him. The rich man had so many lambs he could scarcely count them. One day he received a guest and to accommodate this guest he sent his servant to kill a lamb and prepare it for them to eat. However, instead of taking the lamb from one of his vast pastures, he ordered his servant to take the poor man lamb. When David heard this, the book of Samuel relates that he, “burned with anger” and declared that, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die!” Then Nathan floored him with the punch line to the story as he accused David, “You are the man!” In his mind the dots connected and David realized that he had taken poor Uriah’s most beloved possession, his wife, and that then he had Uriah killed to cover it up. The next words out of David mouth, I think, the most telling and defining words he ever spoke. He simply repented, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

David would never forget this moment, what he had done and how he tried to justify it to himself in his own mind. For the rest of his life, his character would be formed by what happened in today’s first reading.

Father’s Day is a Day to Honour all Fathers

Today we take a day to honour all of our fathers, not because they are perfect, but because even with their limitations, they try to love us. Like David, who wasn’t a model father, they try to do the right thing, have the right spirit, and deep down really do desire only what is good for us.

Three Unique Lessons we Learn from Dad

Today, I would like to reflect with all fathers on three aspects of fatherhood that are important in light of our faith. While we could do a whole homily on mothers, this is not the time for it. First, I direct this towards all fathers and I include myself here as a priest and spiritual father. At the same time, I think it’s important for all of us to hear including the wives of these fathers and their children as I hope that these points articulate your experience of your relationship with your fathers and what you hope from them and expect.

I. To his children, their father is the link to understanding God their heavenly Father.

For each of us, our image of God as Father has been shaped by our own earthly fathers, by the way that they loved us and taught us. For this reason, some people who have had poor father figures or none at all may find it very difficult to see God as a father. At the same time, a good fatherly figure helps their children to trust God more readily. Fathers, only you have this relationship with your children whereby you uniquely prepare them to have a relationship with their Father in Heaven.

II. A father teaches his children their worth by the way that he protects them.

Fathers instinctively protect their children, even to the point of laying down their lives to keep them safe. While some might think it’s old fashioned, I love the idea of the father meeting with his daughters date alone at the door of his house. He may look the young man over, make him feel uncomfortable, and tell him the rules, all the while subtly conveying the message, “Don’t you dare let anything happen to my daughter.” At its worst, this is done out of control and a need for power. But at its best, it clearly conveys to the young man the message that this child of the father is the most precious person in the world to him and that if he were to lose her or if anything were to happen to her he would be deeply affected. When fathers do this, they teach their children that they are deeply loved, that they have a profound dignity, and that they are valuable.

III. A father teaches his children how to love.

It has been said that the crisis of our age is a crisis in love. Abuse, manipulation, objectification is so common that we might wonder if true love is even possible anymore. Fathers you teach us in your struggle for purity. By your hatred for pornography and sexual sins you give us hope that real love is possible. You inspire us not to settle, but to keep striving for authentic love.

Fathers, today we honour you and we sincerely thank you for all that you do for us, perhaps we don’t do this enough. I would like to finish with this address to all of the fathers here today. I say it firstly to myself and also to my father and I bet your children would say these words to you too:

Fathers, we want you to know that we need you, we need you to be good fathers, to show us how to be close to God, to protect us, and, in this day and age, to prove to us that pure love is possible. Never give up, even as your children get older, you have more impact than you know.

May God bless you.

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