Today’s Responsorial Psalm reminds us of the need to thank God often. This is what we do at every eucharist, which means “thanksgiving.” To thank God is to acknowledge our utter dependence upon him, “in whom we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) The image in the First Reading of the tender shoot that becomes a majestic cedar is like the images in the Gospel of the seeds that produce fruit. In these images the potential fruit is not evident in the seed’s appearance, but comes about according to God’s plan and in a way that is mysterious to us. Jesus applies these images to the kingdom of God. The mysterious “growth hormone” is sanctifying grace, God’s gift to us of his divine life that comes to us through the sacraments. We cannot see it, but we feel its effects. We know it “by faith, not by sight,” as Saint Paul says in the Second Reading. Our creation, our redemption and our salvation are the gifts for which we are utterly dependent upon God and for which it is good to give thanks often.
Today we honor the men who are the heads of households and the guardians of their families. They are to reflect to their families the steadfast love of God, “from whom all fatherhood is derived.” “Steadfast” means they can be counted upon, that they will not abandon those entrusted to their care. They are to be virtuous in the fullest sense of that word. The Latin root of the word “virtue” means “strength.” The same root is also apparent in the Latin word for a man, vir. To be a virtuous father is to be truly manly, strong and steadfast. Isn’t that what we count on fathers to be?
Saint Joseph is the patron saint of fathers. He was chosen by God to be the head of the Holy Family, the guardian of the Redeemer and of His virgin mother. He took Mary as his wife and accepted her Son as his own. Jesus was known as “the carpenter’s son.” (Cf. Matthew 13:55) Saint Joseph left his home and business when the life of Jesus was being threatened by King Herod. When the threat was over they returned home. The example of Joseph reminds us that foster or adoptive parents are just as truly parents as biological parents.
Today we ask God’s blessing upon fathers and the grace to fulfill the vocation God has entrusted to them. At the same time we are reminded of the honor due to fathers according to the scriptures: “The Lord sets a father in honor over his children. He who honors his father atones for sins. He who reveres his father will live a long life. In word and deed honor your father that his blessing may come upon you, for a father’s blessing gives a family firm roots. Kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering—it will take lasting root.” (Cf. Sirach 3:2a, 3, 6a, 8-9a, 14)
This week we will welcome Eric Mashak from Cooks Valley, a seminarian who will be with us until mid-August. Eric has just completed his first year of theological studies in Rome, a classmate of our own Timothy Reither. Please keep him and all our seminarians in your prayers, and say hello when you see him.
June 30 marks the end of our fiscal year. While both parishes have met our goals for the Diocesan Annual Appeal, both are coming up short in regular envelope income. School subsidies, insurance and some necessary repairs strain our budgets. Any special end-of the-year contributions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your generous support of our parishes.
Pray the rosary this week for people who are seriously ill, for good weather for the growing season, for our seminarians and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.