In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Three persons yet one God. There are three other words that can reveal the mystery of the Trinity. They are: God is love.
On this feast of the most Holy Trinity, the Church teaches the dynamic of the Trinity as well as our relationship to God.
The Father is the origin of everything, yet the Father freely gives all to the Son. The Son in turn freely gives all to the Spirit, and the Spirit in turn gives all to us as Jesus’ disciples.
We believe that we are made in God’s image and likeness. The implications of the life of the Holy Trinity then in our lives is this: in order for us to be truly ourselves, we have to participate in God’s great cascade of love by not only receiving from the Holy Spirit but also allowing the gifts of the Holy Spirit to flow through us to others.
Therefore on this Father’s Day, I want to speak to you men – young and old – about fatherhood and being men of God. So, please pick up your card and your pencils and fill in the blanks and write your thoughts along the way. (Get the card here)
Wives and ladies, please listen along and pray for these guys. Hopefully this will help everyone.
This first line is taken from our second reading: we even boast of our afflictions means that the challenges and difficulties we face, if done so in union with the sufferings of Christ, they become redemptive and opportunities of great growth and learning.
Affliction produces endurance, that is the ability to be able to carry on, to persevere, to not give up when it’s hard being a husband and a dad and a brother.
Enduring during the tough times is what produces proven character, which shows the depths of who we are, which digs deep into the soul of our being. It goes beyond the superficial, the culturally correct, the GQ image and the fake masculine motif of our culture.
Proven character doesn’t cut and run but stays faithful no matter the cost.
Proven character then produces hope which does not disappoint because if we are man of proven character, our wives, our children, our church, and our nation can depend on us.
Not because we are so great, but because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us in our baptism and confirmation and the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.
There is much to reflect upon here. I would hope that you would take some time with your wife and kids to talk about this today as a way to celebrate Father’s Day.
The next five points are from an article entitled “Forming Future Fathers” that was in the June issue of Columbia magazine published by the Knights of Columbus. It is written by Gerald Korson who is a father of 11 children including four sons. I trust his insights from his experience.
First, be a father who loves their mother. “Good parenting begins with a good marriage,” he writes. Whenever I’m doing marriage preparation, I remind the couple that is the sacrament of Matrimony, not of family. If the relationship between husband and wife mirrors that of the relationship of the Holy Trinity, then the family will be steeped in virtue.
Husbands, dads—show your children what a true Catholic gentleman is by how you treat your wife. Address her with love and respect. Defend her when she is treated disrespectfully by others. Show affection openly and authentically.
If your sons learn to love and respect their mother, they will love and respect their own wives, which will make them better fathers. In turn, your daughters will learn that they are to be treated with love, respect and integrity and not settle for less.
Second, be a father who prays. Be a man who has a relationship with the Holy Trinity. Real men pray, early and often. In order to be the spiritual head of your household, you must first be in relationship with God. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Pray with your wife and draw closer to each other as you draw closer to God.
Dads, pray with your children while they are young so that they know how to pray on their own as they mature. M. A. S. S. — Make All Sundays Sacred. No exceptions. Don’t cut corners. Don’t make lame excuses like the Seahawks.
Dads, bring your children to the sacrament of Reconciliation. Practice grace at meals. Read Scripture daily with your children. Pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Bring them to adoration. Like Jesus, teach them how to pray, how to be in relationship with their heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.
Third, be a responsible father. Take your vocation of being a “man of God” seriously. Don’t shirk your duties and make excuses. Demonstrate for your sons and daughters a strong work ethic. Practice integrity in all things. Be honest and as St. Paul says, “Speak the truth with love.”
Share this responsibility with your wife. Make sure that you involve her in decisions, working together as partners, equally yoked, as St. Paul says. Use Saint Joseph as your model, a man who understood his sacred vocation as a provider and protector of his family.
Fourth, be a father who is present to his family. Providing for your family can take you away from the more than you would like. Yet, always remember that your work should serve your family not the other way around.
Consciously choose to make time for your wife and your children. Be willing to “waste time” with them and for them. I’m going to bring in a guest speaker at the end of the homily to say more about this.
Fifth and last: be a father who knows he’s not perfect, that he is not always right. The best role model you can present is that of a man who is struggling to become a saint.
Your sons and daughters need to know that the habits and virtues you teach them are not easy to attain. You’ve heard me say so often, “Sin is easy and makes us stupid. Virtue is hard and makes us wise.”
When you fall short, make mistakes and sin, be quick to admit it, not make excuses for it, not cover it up, not blame somebody else for it. Rather own up to it. Be man enough to admit your mistakes and apologize when you lose patience, speak uncharitably or slip into laziness or self-centeredness. Then, in all humility, ask for forgiveness. Go to confession.
Unfortunately, these virtues seem in short supply in many men who are lifted up as role models and leaders in our country today.
For us men, our heavenly Father is THE role model, whose total love for Jesus, the Son, is the Holy Spirit—their relationship of gift given, gift totally received and totally given back.
Brothers, on this Father’s Day I invite you to consider taking a step in your Christian manhood and fatherhood. I am considering facilitating a program entitled “Rise Up” by Chris Stefanick. I will have more about this in the future.
There is also a program entitled “Exodus 90” which some of the men of our parish went through before Easter.
Exodus 90 is about interior freedom. Without freedom, we cannot love as we ought. Exodus 90 is about your wives, children, parishes and friends who suffer when we’re not at our best as men. The goal is to achieve the freedom necessary to fully engage the love of God and the love of neighbor.
Exodus 90 is based on an intense and challenging 90-day period of purification, a dying to self, which is supported by a fraternity of like-minded men for greater interior freedom and, eventually, a more purified and selfless love.
If you might be interested, please see Andrew Goldstein at the piano after Mass or Rex Yabut out in the narthex/Gathering Space.
Ladies, please share with me after Mass ideas through which we might support you in being a faithful Catholic wife, mother and woman of faith on this journey to becoming a saint.
It is important for all of us to remember these words of Jesus in today’s Gospel, “Everything that the Father has is mine. The Holy Spirit will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
Let us listen carefully to the Holy Trinity and respond courageously.
Please watch this one minute video. Happy Father’s Day.