Monsignor Yennock's Father's Day Homily June 19, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

WHO DO MEN SAY THAT I AM?

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

FATHER’S DAY JUNE 19 2016

A YOUNG BOY HAD JUST GOTTEN HIS DRIVING PERMIT.HE SAID TO HIS FATHER: “DAD COULD WE DISCUSS THE USE OF YOUR CAR? HIS FATHER SAID TO HIM: “SURE, I'LL MAKE A DEAL WITH YOU. YOU BRING YOUR GRADES UP, READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY AND GET YOUR HAIR CUT; THEN WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT."

A MONTH LATER THE BOY CAME BACK AND AGAIN ASKED HIS FATHER IF HE COULD USE THE CAR. HIS FATHER SAID, "SON, I'M REALLY PROUD OF YOU. YOU BROUGHT YOUR GRADES UP. YOU’RE PRETTY FAITHFUL TO YOUR BIBLE READING. BUT SON, YOU DIDN'T GET YOUR HAIR CUT!"

THE YOUNG MAN WAITED A MOMENT AND THEN SAID TO HIS FATHER:"YOU KNOW DAD, I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THAT. IN READING THE BIBLE I NOTICED THAT SAMSON HAD LONG HAIR, MOSES HAD LONG HAIR, NOAH HAD LONG HAIR, AND EVEN JESUS HAD LONG HAIR."

HIS FATHER TAPPED HIM ON THE SHOULDER AND SAID"YES SON, AND DID YOU NOTICE THAT THEY WALKED EVERYWHERE THEY WENT?

JESUS SAYS IN THE GOSPEL TODAY:”IF ANYONE WISHES TO COME AFTER ME HE MUST DENY HIMSELF AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS DAILY AND FOLLOW ME.”

WHEN A FATHER SETS BOUNDARIES FOR HIS CHILDREN HE IS SAYING TO THEM: “IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A SACRIFICE. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO ACCEPT DISAPPOINTMENTS AND REVERSES IN YOUR LIFE EVERY DAY.”

THAT’S WHAT “TAKE UP YOUR CROSS DAILY AND FOLLOW ME” REALLY MEANS.

TODAY IS FATHER’S DAY. A GOOD FATHER IS A HERO GREATER THAN ANY POLITICIAN, GENERAL, ALL-PRO ATHLETE OR CORPORATE EXECUTIVE OFFICER. FATHER’S DAY COULD FAIRLY BE CALLED HERO’S DAY. A MAN IS A HERO WHEN HE DOES HIS DUTY, GIVES HIMSELF TO OTHERS AND REMEAINS EXCEPTIONAL.  

THE FUTURE OF OUR CHURCH AND OUR SOCIETY DEPENDS ON FATHERS BEING SPIRITUAL LEADERS.

A GREAT WRITER OF WORLD LITERATURE WROTE: “I BELIEVE THAT WHAT WE BECOME DEPENDS ON WHAT OUR FATHERS TEACH US AT ODD MOMENTS, WHEN THEY AREN'T TRYING TO TEACH US. WE ARE FORMED BY LITTLE SCRAPS OF WISDOM.”

IT TAKES A DEEP EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT TO BE A FATHER. I WAS MOVED BY A FATHER IN CONNECTICUT. HE SOBBED UNCONTROLLABLY WHEN A JUDGE RULED THAT HIS WIFE COULD HAVE AN ABORTION. THE FATHER SOBBED: “HE’S TAKING THE LIFE OF MY SON”.

IT’S SO SAD WHEN WE HEAR THAT FATHERS ARE DROPPING OUT OF THE FAMILY SCENE. IN THE LAST 30 YEARS THE UNITED STATES HAS BECOME THE WORLD’S LEADER IN FATHERLESS FAMILIES.

WE ARE THE MOST PROSPEROUS NATION IN HISTORY, AND YET TONIGHT ALMOST 25 PERCENT OF AMERICA’S CHILDREN WILL GO TO SLEEP IN A HOUSE WITHOUT A FATHER. MORE THAN 40 PERCENT OF THE CHILDREN WHO LIVE IN FATHERLESS HOMES HAVE NOT SEEN THEIR FATHERS IN AT LEAST A YEAR.

THIS IS A NATIONAL CRISIS THAT AFFECTS EVERY ONE OF US.

IT IS SAD ALSO THAT THE FATHERS WHO REMAIN ARE NO LONGER SPIRITUAL LEADERS IN THEIR HOME. THEY LEAVE THE SALVATION OF THEIR CHILD’S SOUL TO THEIR WIVES.

THERE ARE ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS BUT ONE MAJOR STUDY FOUND THAT CHILDREN RAISED IN HOUSEHOLDS WHERE FATHERS ARE NOT ACTIVE IN THE FAITH HAVE ABOUT A 3 PERCENT CHANCE OF BEING FAITHFUL TO THEIR FAITH AS ADULTS. LOOK AROUND YOU.

THE BIG QUESTION FOR FATHER’S IS THIS: WHAT IS THE MOST POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON MY CHILDREN—THE LESSONS TAUGHT AROUND MY TABLE OR THE LESSONS TAUGHT ON MTV, THE INTERNET AND THEIR FRIENDS?

IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS: FATHERS NEED TO BE SPIRITUAL LEADERS IN THEIR HOME. FATHERS NEED TO GUARD THEIR HOMES AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD INVADE THEM AND HARM THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN. THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT HAS TO DO WITH THE SALVATION OF OUR IMMORTAL SOULS.  

IT’S NOT EASY TO SAVE YOUR SOUL IN THIS PRESENT ENVIRONMENT. THE ROLE OF A FATHER AS A SPIRITUAL LEADER IS A 100 TIMES MORE DIFFICULT TODAY THAN IT WAS WHEN MY FATHER WAS TRYING TO FATHER ME. SOMETIMES FATHERS WORRY THAT THEY WILL NOT BE GOOD FATHERS. JESUS TELLS THEM DO NOT BE AFRAID. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO BE A GOOD FATHER—IF YOU REALLY WANT TO IMAGE GOD TO YOUR CHILD, GOD WILL GIVE YOU THE GRACE THAT YOU NEED. HE DOES NOT PUT YOU AT THE HEAD OF THAT FAMILY AND THEN ABANDON YOU. YOU CAN COUNT ON HIS HELP.

GENERAL DOUGLAS MAC ARTHUR A GREAT AMERICAN AND LEADER OF THE ARMED FORCES HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT FATHERHOOD: “BY PROFESSION I AM A SOLDIER AND I TAKE PRIDE IN THAT FACT—BUT I AM PROUDER-INFINITELY PROUDER TO BE A FATHER.

“IT IS MY HOPE, THAT MY SON, WHEN I AM GONE WILL REMEMBER ME NOT FROM BATTLES FOUGHT, BUT IN THE HOME REPEATING WITH HIM OUR SIMPLE DAILY PRAYER: ‘OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME’”.

FATHERS, MEMORIES ARE ALL YOUR CHILDREN WILL HAVE AFTER YOU ARE GONE. HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO REMEMBER YOU? THAT YOU LOVED THEM; THAT YOU WERE A MAN OF FAITH; THAT YOU TAUGHT THEM THEIR PRAYERS; THAT YOU LED THEM TO THE CONFESSIONAL TO BUILD THEIR CHARACTER; THAT YOU PACKED THE FAMILY IN THE CAR ON SUNDAY AND TOOK THEM TO MASS BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE THAT EVERY MAN SHOULD WORSHIP GOD; THAT YOU WERE GENEROUS AND FORGIVING; THAT THEY WERE PROUD OF THEIR FATHER BECAUSE HE WAS AN HONORABLE MAN?

MEMORIES ARE SO IMPORTANT. DAVID MITCHELL IN A BOOK TITLED THE BONE CLOCKS SAID: “WHEN A PARENT DIES, A FILING CABINET FULL OF ALL THE FASCINATING STUFF ALSO CEASES TO EXIST. I NEVER IMAGINED HOW HUNGRY I'D BE ONE DAY TO LOOK INSIDE IT.  I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW DAD SAW ME WHEN I WAS 6. I'D LOVE TO KNOW A HUNDRED THINGS.”

A FAMOUS WRITER SAID: “I LOST MY FATHER THIS PAST YEAR. YES, THE WORD, LOST, FEELS RIGHT BECAUSE I KEEP LOOKING FOR HIM. AS IF HE WERE MISPLACED. AS IF HE COULD JUST TURN UP, LIKE A SOCK OR A SET OF KEYS.”

TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE IS THE ONLY INSTITUTION THAT BRINGS TOGETHER A MAN AND A WOMAN FOR LIFE. A FAITHFUL FATHER AND MOTHER ALONE CAN PROVIDE A SECURE FOUNDATION TO ANY CHILD WHO COMES FROM THEIR UNION.

WHENEVER YOU SEE A MAN OF FAITH, COURAGE AND INTEGRITY; WHENEVER YOU SEE A YOUNG MAN WHO HAS A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY-- WHENEVER YOU SEE A YOUNG MAN WHO IS NOT STUCK IN PERMANENT ADOLESENCE, AND HAS A GOOD ATTITUDE TOWARD WORK-- YOU KNOW THAT A MANLY FATHER WAS PRESENT IN HIS LIFE.   

SOMEONE SAID OF HIS FATHER: "HE DIDN'T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE; HE LIVED, AND LET ME WATCH HIM DO IT." 

WHENEVER YOU SEE A YOUNG MAN KNEEL DOWN TO PRAY—WHENEVER YOU SEE A YOUNG MAN WHO HAS A MATURE RESPECT FOR RELIGION--WHENEVER YOU SEE A YOUNG MAN WHO IS COMFORTABLE WITH HIS FAMILY AND KNOWS HOW TO TREAT HIS MOTHER, YOU KNOW THAT A STRONG FATHER WAS INDEED THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THAT HOME.

THE GREATEST GIFT THAT A FATHER CAN GIVE TO HIS CHILDREN IS TO LET THEM KNOW THAT HE LOVES THEIR MOTHER.

I KNOW A MAN WHO TOOK HIS CHILDREN ASIDE AND SAID TO THEM IN A NO-NONSENSE VOICE: “I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT SHE IS NOT JUST YOUR MOTHER, SHE IS MY WIFE. AND I DON’T ALLOW ANYONE TO TREAT MY WIFE WITH DISRESPECT”. THEN HE LOOKED AT THEM AND SAID: “DON’T FORCE ME TO GET PHYSICAL ABOUT IT. JUST BE NICE TO HER.”

SOME YEARS AGO A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WROTE THIS IN A LETTER TO THE COLUMNIST ANN LANDERS: “A GREAT MAN DIED TODAY. HE WASN’T A WORLD LEADER OR A FAMOUS DOCTOR OR A WAR HERO OR A SPORTS FIGURE. HE WAS NO BUSINESS TYCOON, AND YOU WOULD NEVER SEE HIS NAME IN THE FINANCIAL PAGES. BUT HE WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST MEN WHO EVER LIVED. HE WAS MY FATHER.

THAT WONDERFUL MAN DIED WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE AND FULFILLMENT IN HIS HEART. HE KNEW THAT HE WAS A GREAT SUCCESS AS A HUSBAND, A FATHER, A SON, A BROTHER AND A FRIEND. I WONDER HOW MANY MILLIONAIRES CAN SAY THAT.”

THE LETTER IS SIGNED—HIS DAUGHTER.

 

IN THE GOSPEL TODAY JESUS ASKS HIS DISCIPLES THE QUESTION WHO AM I?

FATHERS NEED TO ASK THEMSELVES THAT QUESTION? WHO AM I AS A FATHER OF THIS HOUSEHOLD? WHAT DO I BELIEVE? WHAT WOULD I DIE FOR AND DO MY CHILDREN KNOW IT? AM I A SPIRITUAL LEADER IN MY HOME? AM I GUARDING MY HOME AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD INVADE IT AND HARM MY WIFE AND MY CHILDREN SPIRITUALLY?

WE THANK OUR FATHERS TODAY—OUR FATHERS LIVING AND DEAD. WE THANK THEM FOR GIVING US LIFE AND FOR BEING MEN OF FAITH. WE FORGIVE THEM THEIR IMPERFECTIONS AND WEEKNESSES. THEY MADE MISTAKES, BUT WE TRUST THAT THEY DID THEIR BEST. SOMETIMES OUR BEST IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. WE MAKE ALLOWANCES. WE FORGIVE THEM. WE LOVE THEM. WE PRAY FOR THEM. GOD KNOWS IT IS NOT EASY TO BE A FATHER.