In the midst of everything being so different and strange these past three months, there have been times when I couldn’t keep track of which day it is.
Just three weeks ago we celebrated the great Solemnity of Pentecost which was followed by the feast of the Holy Trinity, which was followed last week by the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Suddenly—or so it seems to me—we are back in “Ordinary Time.”
For the rest of the summer and into the fall, we will be reading the Gospel of Matthew. Today, we are in the 10th chapter, often referred to as the “missionary discourse.” Jesus chooses the 12 apostles and gives them authority over unclean spirits and the power to cure every disease and every illness. He then gives them further instructions for their task of proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand and offers precautions about the opposition they will face in doing so.
This is where today’s Gospel begins with these words: “Fear no one.” Jesus will repeat this in various ways three different times.
“Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, no secret that will not be known. But I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”
I love my staff. They are incredible individuals with gifts and talents that assist me in so many ways. Every single person is younger than I, which helps keep me young, enthusiastic and desirous. I often tell them how they keep me from being a Neanderthal, of not having a clue about what’s happening in the world and on social media. If it wasn’t for Fr. Lou and his Internet savvy, I would have little or no idea of much of the heartbeat of anyone who is not a member of AARP.
Think of a person, an event, or a place that you thought was just awesome, that was far beyond your expectation. What would you normally want to do with that encounter? Share it, correct?
We are constantly being surveyed online about how we liked the dining experience, the shopping experience, the vacation experience, the dentist, eye doctor or hospital experience, etc.
I was at dinner the other night with the number of young adults and more than once I heard, “but it was rated so high,” or “the review was so good, I expected more.”
Jesus wants us to share. Jesus wants us to figuratively proclaim from the housetops the good news of the Gospel. Jesus wants us to give this good news away freely, enthusiastically, excitedly and lovingly. And even more than this, Jesus wants us to share “Him” with others.
Jesus is not merely content with us sharing “about” Him. Jesus wants us to share “Him,” to share our personal experience and our relationship with Him.
“What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”
When Jesus speaks in the depths of our being and touches us deeply, it is not meant merely for us individually. It is meant to be shared in some fashion or another.
For some, it will be facilitating a small faith sharing group.
For others, it may be St. Paul Street evangelization.
For others, it may be praying outside of Planned Parenthood.
For others, it might be in the classroom or homeschooling.
For others, it is spouses and parents helping their children get to heaven.
However it might be, we are all called to bear witness to Jesus Christ. It is often your vocation of marriage, in your family, your friendships and your professional life. Wherever you find yourself can be an opportunity of evangelization—which simply means sharing with others your journey of faith with Jesus Christ.
Men, on this Father’s Day, we have a tremendous responsibility to share. While many studies highlight the significant influence of mothers in other areas of life, research points to a distinctive influence that dads have on their children’s religious outlook. If dads disengage from the practice of faith, their kids are prone to dismiss faith as well. Only 2% of kids whose fathers do not practice faith will end up practicing faith in the future.
Men, my brothers, 20 years from now your children will no doubt be telling stories about the pandemic of 2020. Will you be a central character in those stories?
Will they talk about how you led the family in prayer when you couldn’t attend Mass and receive Holy Communion? Will they talk about how you encouraged them to set up an altar in front of the TV on Sundays mornings and sing along during lockdown?
Will they remember how you pointed out to them your favorite Bible story or passage? Will they remember the saints that you introduced to them? Will they remember how you helped the family celebrate Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost during the pandemic of 2020?
Will they remember you as a man of faith, a friend of and disciple of Jesus Christ? Will they know of your love for His mother, Mary? Will they tell of your love, affection, care and protection of their mother, your wife?
Dads, men—Jesus wants to send you to not only share good news “about” Him, but to share “Him,” your relationship with “Him.”
Therefore I want to give you a special gift for Father’s Day. It is from Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix, Arizona and the Knights of Columbus. Here is a short intro.
“Into the Breach” is a 12 part, high quality video series with study guide that you can use with your family, your sons and daughters as a way of proclaiming the dignity and the role that God has given to you.
God was intentional in choosing you to be a father. Think for a moment: God not only chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus but also chose Joseph to be His earthly father, the father who would care for Him, raise Him up, teach Him how to be a man and whom He would call “daddy.”
Ladies, I need your help. Encourage your husband to watch these videos and then to discuss them with you and the family. Faith grows where we share it. Faith is meant to be shouted from the housetops. Faith is meant to be like a city set on the mountaintop—you can’t miss it.
Men, hear your heavenly Father speak these words to your heart today, “You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased.”
More than just hearing, believe. Believe that God truly, truly means it. As men, let us live it together.