ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption of the sons of God,
the redemption of our body.”
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Prayers for Deceased Parents
On the civil calendar,
today is Fathers’ Day—so congratulations to all those of you who are
fathers. If you are fortunate enough to have your father still among the
living, this would be a good time to go and visit him, or to give him a call
on the phone. Living or dead, be sure to pray for him. If your Latin is
good, you may have noticed that the third collect today was the Church’s
official prayer for deceased mothers and fathers.
On the first Friday of
this month we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which
Saint Paul referred to the Fatherhood of God as being an exemplar for all
fatherhood, in heaven and on earth. “All fatherhood receives its name from
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is a very powerful concept, in
that it suggests that all good fathers are participating in a plan that God
established from all eternity.
By virtue of Christian
revelation, we can say that God’s fatherhood existed before all creation.
Each time we recite the Creed at Mass, we affirm that God the Son was “born
of the Father before all ages.... Begotten not made; of one being with the
Father.” Our limited terminology has difficulty dealing with concepts that
took place “before all ages”—we strain to think about a “time before time
began,” just as we strain to think of the Son of God being “begotten and not
created”—but it is not difficult for us to think about the Father having a
Son, because God created us along the same lines. Our fathers and mothers
had sons and daughters—all the way back to Adam and Even—and, hopefully, for
a long time into the future. The very first thing we hear about the
creation of the human race is that “God created man in His own image ...
male and female he created them, and He blessed them saying «increase and
Fatherhood and Motherhood are God’s plan.
We read in Saint John’s
Gospel that the Word was with God in the beginning ... and the Word was God
... and nothing was made that was not created through the Word. Here again
we see the exemplar of human relationships. It is the most natural thing in
the world for sons to help their fathers with the family business, precisely
because it is the way things were done in heaven from the very beginning.
God further gave us the example of His own Son, adopted by Saint Joseph.
Jesus was a helper to Joseph; but undeniably, Joseph was Jesus’ protector,
and provider, and teacher with regard to the things of the world.
Joseph is wonderful
example for those great men who look to the raising of other mens’ children
in their absence, equally deserving to be called “fathers,” for biology is a
relatively small part of the job which goes on for decades if properly
attended to. Fathers’ day and Mothers’ day honors all of those men and
women who have given of their substance, time, and effort to see to it that
children are raised to be good Christians and good citizens.
We see a similar thing in
that Gospel of Saint John, for in the very same passage, we read that this
Word of God took human flesh and human form, and gave those who received Him
the power of becoming sons of God.
For just as a child needs a human father to guide him in the ways of earthly
life, God adopts us as our heavenly Father to teach us the ways of eternal
life. Saint Peter wrote about it so well in last Sunday’s Epistle: “Humble
yourself under the mighty hand of God; cast your cares upon Him, for He
cares for you.” God has compassion on His children—but, perhaps even more
importantly, God is a Father who will raise His children well: “after you
have suffered a little, He Himself will perfect you and confirm you and
On this Fathers’ Day,
then, let us not forget to pray for our own parents, who gave us life. If
you are a father, strive to imitate Saint Joseph, who so perfectly imitated
the Fatherhood of God Himself—strive for compassion and justice, for truth,
and above all, for love. And whether you are a father or not, give thanks
to Almighty God who has chosen to be our Father. Make Him proud of you as
Christian sons and daughters; be His humble children so that all creation
may “be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the
glory of the children of God.”