TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-A
Jeremiah 20: 10-13
Romans 5: 12-15
Matthew 10: 26-33
St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, used to ask her grade-school classmates: “Have you ever seen a saint praying?” She would then add: “If you haven’t, come to my house this evening. You will see my dad on his knees in his room praying for us, his children, every day.”
Father’s Day challenges Christian fathers to be great role models for their children.
In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “The Capital of the World,” a Spanish newspaper, El Liberal, carried a poignant story about a father and his son. The teen-aged boy, Paco, and his very wealthy father had a falling out, and the young man ran away from home.
The father was crushed. After a few days, he realized that the boy was serious, so he set out to find him. He searched for his son for five months to no avail.
Finally, in a last, desperate attempt to find his son, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper that read: “Dear Paco, Meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.” On Tuesday, at the Hotel Montana, over 800 Pacos showed up, all looking for love and forgiveness from their fathers.
What a magnet that ad was! Over 800 Pacos! We all hunger for interior peace. We know what it is like: those times in our lives when we yearn for someone who can assure us that “All is forgiven.” Father’s Day reminds us that we need lots of loving, forgiving fathers.
A man tells about how, when he was a small boy, his father’s birthday rolled around. And all he could come up with to buy him a present was 17 cents. He put the dime, the nickel, and the two pennies in an envelope and gave it to his father with a note: “I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday. Thanks for being the best dad in the whole world. Sorry I couldn’t buy you a gift. This is all I’ve got.”
Years later, when he was going through his father’s possessions after his death, he discovered, tucked in his father’s wallet, the envelope, the note, the dime, the nickel, and the two pennies that his father had carried all those years.
Why had his dad kept these tokens of their relationship? Because they represented pure love and pure gratitude. And this reminds us of the gracious, unconditional, unmerited, awesome love that our Heavenly Father has for us. Here is what Jesus tells us about Him in today’s Gospel: “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge…. So do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Pure love on our Heavenly Father’s part calls for pure gratitude on ours.
Many fathers today are great role models, like St. Louis Martin (the father of the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux). In fact, both he and his wife, "Zélie" Guérin Martin, were canonized as saints by Pope Francis in 2015. They are parental heroes of our Faith. But while the ideal of fatherhood is a noble one, the reality we see on earth is sometimes quite different. This Father’s Day weekend is a good time for all fathers to reflect upon their duties as responsible and well-integrated men. True fatherhood demands commitment. Commitment demands maturity, sacrifice and love. Our nation has an urgent need for great fathers.
A favorite gift for Father’s Day is a cap emblazoned with the words “World’s Greatest Dad.” You may see more of them than ever this year on the heads of proud fathers.
There is one Dad who is absolutely the “World’s Greatest Dad,” our Heavenly Father. We can lean on Him in times of pain and hurt. We can call on Him in times of fear. We can depend on Him for all our needs – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Let us take this Father’s Day to honor Him, the absolutely “World’s Greatest Dad.” Let us pray the Our Father during this Mass, savoring the meaning of each line and welcoming the love of our Heavenly Father for us.
May all earthly fathers draw strength from their Heavenly Father.
And on this Father’s Day, please also pray for us, your spiritual Fathers – men who are called to be Fathers of our parish families through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the Priesthood.
To all fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers and Godfathers, and all those men who show a fatherly influence over others: Happy Father’s Day. And through the intercession of Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, may the Lord continue to bless you and your families, now and forever. Amen.
PACO, ALL IS FORGIVEN
No one could really say why he ran away. Or perhaps he didn’t, but was kicked out of his home by his father for something foolish that he said or did. Either way, Paco found himself wandering the streets of Madrid, Spain with hopes of entering into a profession that would most likely get him killed – bullfighting. Those who train under a mentor have a good chance of surviving this profession, but Paco’s memory of his mistakes and guilt over what happened blindly drove him to this one way street to suicide.
But that was the last thing his father wanted, which is why he tried something desperate which he desperately hoped would work. There was little to no chance that he would be able to find Paco by wandering the streets of Madrid , so instead he put an advertisement in the local newspaper El Liberal. The advertisement read,
“Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.”
Paco is such a common name in Spain that when the father went to the Hotel Montana the next day at noon there were 800 young men named Paco waiting for their fathers…and waiting for the forgiveness they never thought was possible!
From the short story The Capital of the World by Ernest Hemingwayin The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway