June 21, 2020 – Happy Father’s Day
This week was a big week for us at the Church. We were able to celebrate Mass with parishioners!! Yeah! At last I could see people! I know it was only 25 people and it had to be outside, but it felt so good! Even though we adapted well to the online environment and team at the parish with Penny, Fr. Edgar, Merry, John and Jed along with Annie, Brian Cabral, Dan Crocker in tech support have done a great job each week in putting on great online liturgies, I really missed you all so much.
I realize it has been hard on all of you for the last three months as you could not come to Church and it has been a really hard of celebrating Mass with nobody in the Church except for a few ministers. It was so good to see people and engage with them. I must admit that I have a new appreciation for people who talk to cameras all day long whether it be news anchors, television actors or movie actors! It takes a ton of energy to talk and interact with a camera with no audience! Thank you for your patience and willingness to sacrifice for the good of all. I hope to see more of you in the days ahead for Sunday or weekend Mass. Please sign up here for online registration.
This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day and we all remember our fathers whether alive or deceased. We honor them by remembering them and celebrating them. If your dad is alive then I hope you will reach out to him and tell him how important his love has been to you, even if it may not have been perfect. The love of our parents is the first love we experience and often the first experience of God’s love in our lives. I believe in the power of story and sharing stories and I hope you will think of a good story of love of your father. Remember it and share it, as it will bring the love alive again.
I have so many stories of my own father, that I could write a book on him. Indeed, you have heard me preach often of him and his wisdom and faith. If there was ever anyone who spent most of his life on the “Second Mountain” of life it was my father. He spent most of his life helping his children become who they are today. He spent all of his life loving my mother and enabling her to be the best person she could be. He lived his entire life devoted to his faith in God who loves us no matter what and he tried to do the same for us, his family and all people with whom he came into contact. But most of all, my dad showed me how to love simply and wholly. He was a physically strong man who worked with his hands building lots of things including an extension to our house. But his real strength to me was his big loving and forgiving heart. He forgave easily and held no grudges, not common in Ireland J. Most of all I remember his gentle love.
One occasion that best illustrates this for me and helps me to pray to God and experience God in the same way. Being the youngest of 12 children, it was hard to get undivided attention from my father because there was so many of us. I remember how after evening tea (dinner was in the middle of the day) he would sit down and try to read the newspaper for a few minutes. He would often pretend to read the newspaper but was really using it as a defense from us kids wanting him to play! I would often quietly slip onto his lap under the newspaper and not ask him to play because I knew he was tired, and I just lay on his chest without saying a word. He would allow it as I was quiet, and I was hidden by the newspaper. I would just lay there, lying on his chest and listening to his heartbeat. It was so amazing to just rest on him! It was as if his strength and love transferred directly to me without a word being spoken. We would often both sleep!
These days when I feel tired with my ministry, and that has been often lately, I imagine God as my father and sit at my prayer desk and imagine lying on his chest resting from my day! It gives me great comfort to feel that strength and that love from God as father! Ironically, I often fall asleep with that image and my soul is at rest!
I hope you can use one of your stories of your father to help with God as father and imagine the love you share as conduit to God’s love. Above all if you are a father now, please know how crucial your love and strength is to us your children. More importantly, know how critical your tenderness and gentleness is for us to experience. Don’t be afraid to be gentle and kind, it is your strength in action. Happy Father’s Day.