Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost—19June AD 2016

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Collects for Deceased Father and Mother

    Today is the fifth Sunday after Pentecost on the Church calendar, and the day on which civil society observes Father's Day.  As I observed on Mother's Day, it is appropriate that we include those men (and even a few women) who have been kind enough to step into the fatherly role when our natural fathers were unable or unwilling.

    In the Catholic Church we have two role models for fathers to emulate.  One would be God Himself, and the other would be Saint Joseph who stood in as the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The attributes of Saint Joseph may be more familiar to us because Joseph was a tangible human being, very much like we and our own fathers.  But, really, all of the fatherly attributes of Saint Joseph have their origin in God the Father.

    Joseph, of course was not the biological father of Jesus, but in every other way he deserves to be identified as “father.”  Joseph was both protector and provider for our Lord and for His holy mother.  It was Joseph who led Jesus and Mary to safety in Egypt when the bloodthirsty King Herod was trying to murder our Infant Lord.  It was Joseph who protected the holy home in Nazareth from two and four footed predators.

    It was Joseph who provided for Jesus and Mary.  Quite possibly the house and it's furnishings were made with Joseph's own hands.  With Mary's help, Joseph's labor put food on their table and clothing on their backs.

    Joseph would have been the first teacher Jesus had for learning the religious customs of the local synagogue and the Temple at Jerusalem. And there was much to learn.  Prayer and the Scriptures were in Hebrew rather than the everyday Aramaic that people spoke. A Jewish  man or boy said his daily prayers wearing leather “tfillin” which had to be wound around one arm and one's head to support small leather boxes containing Scriptural verses.  Putting them on was accompanied by a Hebrew prayer.  A Jewish man prayed wearing a "tallit," or prayer shawl, also put on with a Hebrew prayer.  The "tallit" was first worn when a boy become an adult at bar mitzvah the, a ceremony which required the young man to be able to read the day's passage from Scripture aloud in Hebrew.  Joseph would have taught Jesus all of these things, or would have seen to an instructor in the unlikely event that he could not.  Joseph, above all, would have taught Jesus by his good example—d ay by day Jesus would have seen Joseph carrying out the Mitzvahs (the Commandments) of the Law.

    Joseph surely loved Jesus.  His reaction to the loss of Jesus in the Temple tells us as much.  Jesus was the Son of his beloved wife.  But the love of a father for a son is a special kind of love.  Fathers want to see their sons grow up to be responsible men—men who will themselves be good fathers.  They want their sons to grow up as protectors, providers, educators, and paternal lovers.

    Protector, provider, educator, and paternal lover.  It is not difficult to see God the Father in all of these roles.  It is reasonable to say that these are the marks of all good fathers. Today we honor all men who have demonstrated this similarity to God and Saint Joseph.

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    Now, let me change direction a bit, and let us see how today's Scripture readings correlate with our Father's Day observance.  It is pretty clear that the readings relate to something which we call “brotherhood.”  This is something about which we hear a great deal—and a lot of what we hear is mostly hot air.  We must learn to be suspicious whenever we hear proclaimed “the Brotherhood of Man.”  Sometimes this “Brotherhood” is proclaimed by those who would have us all deny the Fatherhood of God (the Freemasons, perhaps).  Sometimes this “Brotherhood” is proclaimed by those who mean a brotherhood of the unproductive united against those who produce the goods of this world—a brotherhood of thieves (the Marxists, perhaps). Other times it is a “Brotherhood” of the elite political and moneyed classes united against everyone else, really intending to make slaves of all mankind.  Most often the false “Brotherhood” is a combination of all these things, some sort of socialism.  And to quote economist, Tom DiLorenzo:

    A defining characteristic of socialism in all its forms in all places and at all times is a relatively small political elite (and its “private sector” cronies) that lives lavishly by plundering its population, destroying its economy,  imposing a regime of equality of poverty and misery; and turning almost everyone into a dependent on the state for survival.[1]

This is not a “brotherhood of man,” but rather a “brotherhood of thieves.”

    But it should be obvious that there can be no Brotherhood of Men without the Fatherhood of God.  In the state of original sin, we are all base creatures.  In our fallen nature we tend to do all of the things forbidden by the Commandments.  We know better, for God's law is written in the hearts of men and women.  Saint Paul writes:

    For the invisible things of [God], from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.[2]

We call this the “Natural Law.”  It is obvious to any clearly thinking person that society cannot exist if it's members go about beating, stealing, lying, and cheating on one another—yet so many think that they are unique, with everyone else being bound to good behavior, while they do whatever they please.   “The Commandments are for everyone else but me”!!

    The message of today's readings is that for the love of God we must have true love of neighbor.  It is because of the Fatherhood of God that we are capable of “not rendering evil for evil.”[3]  It is because of the Fatherhood of God that we will refuse to be angry with a brother—certainly not killing him, and not even calling him names.[4]

    We are motivated to do good by God’s promise of a reward and our desire to “enter the kingdom of heaven.”  But more importantly, we are given the wisdom and the strength to avoid evil by God’s sanctifying grace—again, we see God as protector and provider.  Further, what we should know from the Natural Law is confirmed by revelation from God, through His Son and conveyed by His Church—again, we see the Father as our Educator.

    Finally, we see that God is our paternal lover—He who wants His sons and daughters to grow into responsible adults, who will be responsible mothers and fathers themselves—He who wants us to love our neighbors, because they are our brothers and sisters, precisely because we all have God as our common Father.

    Please join me in offering this Mass for all of our departed fathers and mothers.  If you are lucky enough that Dad is still among the living, please go and see him today—at least call him on the phone.  And let God know that you appreciate His Fatherhood as well.


Dei via est íntegra
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