Sunday, June 16, 2019

Homily for Trinity Sunday/Father's Day/Fr John's 40th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination


2019-06-16 Trinity Sunday
Today, is Fr John’s 40th Year as a priest. This is something to thank God for and celebrate. It is also something to reflect on. When I was ordained last year, there were thoughts of doubts, of a sense of unworthiness. While the priest’s ordination is different from a Deacon’s I would think Fr John experienced those emotions also. Yet, he willingly and courageously answered God’s call. Which makes one ask, Why would a young man 40 years ago, with the whole world before him, give up everything to serve God? Who is this God that Fr John worships, loves and serves? It is quite fitting we celebrate the Solemnity of the Trinity today because the Trinity is the God whom Fr John worships and serves. It is also fitting that we celebrate Father’s day today, since Fr John is our Spiritual Father.

When the New Testament speaks of God, it talks of God the Father. Although God is spirit and is neither male nor female, we call him Father because Jesus said so. Some theologians may disagree with me, but I believe Jesus over any misguided theologian.
We often hear that God loves everyone. The word “love” is thrown around these days and often times, the people who use it cannot even articulate what it means. While God loves me, I need to respond to that love. This means surrendering my life to him and this surrender is repentance through Jesus Christ.
Love is an outward action. The second reading tells us, God gives us the grace to be at peace with him to share in his glory. It also tells us God has given us the Holy Spirit. God the Father is always giving. He gave his Son to save us, and his Holy Spirit as a guarantee of his love. This is the first description of the Father: he is love because he gives himself. This giving of self for the sake of others is the definition of divine love.
Out of this love, he wants to share his glory. Which is why he created the universe. The first Reading and the Responsorial Psalm give a glimpse of the power, majesty and greatness of God that incites a sense of awe of God. He created us so we can share his glory. This is the second description of the Father: he loves, therefore, he gives us life so we can share his glory.
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus says All the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that [the Holy Spirit] will take what is mine and declare it to you. While the Father loves and he gives life he continues to be involved in his creation by his Holy Spirit through Jesus. The Father gives everything to Jesus who gives everything to the Holy Spirit who declares the Truth. This is the third description of the Father: he loves and gives life and sustains it in his Truth, not the truth of any human being.
While none of our earthly fathers are perfect, and some may have even hurt us badly, this does not remove the fact, we have a heavenly Father who is perfect. This picture of our heavenly Father is the picture of the ideal manhood as seen in Jesus Christ, the perfect man, who today, calls men to holiness.
Men, we are called to protect what we hold dear. We are called to be true men who love sacrificially, dying to our desires and lust, so we can give life to those God has given us and to nurture them with God’s Truth. Fathers are called to die to themselves so their wife and children may live. They do this in God’s truth, by being faithful to their wife and children, by standing up and fighting for God’s truth. God has ordered that men lead their families to him. Deuteronomy 11:18 tells fathers to place the words of God in the hearts and minds of their sons every moment of their lives. Fathers, we need to learn Scripture so we can immerse our children in the Word of God. We need to immerse our children in the Sacraments. Bring them to mass and confession with you and lead them in prayer. Pray for them. Protect them from the occult because it leads to death. Fathers, our children are not destined for success. They are destined for union with God through holiness. He wants them to be great in his eyes and share in his glory, not the glory of men. This is possible only when Fathers love, worship and serve the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Single men are called to give of themselves so others may live. They are called to defend life in God’s truth. For those men who are called to be priests, they are called to defend their spouse, the Church, and give life to those they pastor, nourishing them in God’s truth. They are called to die to themselves so their flock may live.
With the recent clergy scandals in the Church, I will admit there are many priests, bishops and deacons who were and are unfaithful to their call and did evil things. They have failed in their role as spiritual fathers and they will be accountable for their deeds, either in this life or when they meet Jesus in their death. But there are many more priests who, despite their weaknesses, remain faithful to their God. These priests continue to love, worship and serve God, revealing the love of God that gives life in his Truth. They are real men who literally make Christ present in our lives.
Brothers, we are called to battle, to submit to Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of Lords. Ephesians 6:12 tells us: Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places. The evils we see in society can be defeated only by the power of Christ. We are called to serve God and trample these spirits as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:5 in the word of truth, in the power of God: by the weapons of righteousness on the right and on the left. Jesus has won the war. And when we join Jesus in this war, if we submit to him, we will trample down these evil spirits because Scripture says, every knee will bend and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
I was praying this morning and I believe the Lord also wants me to address single mothers. God knows the difficulties you are going through. You have become mother and father at the same time. You are a courageous and strong woman, and thank you. God did not want this to happen and when you are overwhelmed, it is ok to weep, to feel vulnerable, to be angry at God. But always remember, Jesus is here, to be the man of your life. He wants to defend you, to provide for you and to heal you. For children who grew up without experiencing a father’s love. This is not God’s plan for you. Psalm 27:10 tells us, though father and mother abandon me, the Lord will receive me. It is also ok to cry, to feel lost and to be angry at God. God knows how you feel and God, your heavenly Father wants you to know and experience a father’s love. He wants to be your Father. Come to him through Jesus and he will send his Holy Spirit and receive you as his child.
One last word. Our Diocese needs spiritual fathers. So I ask the boys and single men here today. Do you want to be real men of God? Do you want to give your life so others may live? Do you want to trample evil in the name of Jesus Christ and share in his glory and victory? If you answer yes to all three questions, you may want to consider entering the seminary for priesthood. Entering the seminary does not mean you will be a priest. It is a bold and manly step to discerning God’s will. I personally believe, that every Catholic man, should consider priesthood as an option at a certain point in their lives. If you feel God is calling you, to enter the seminary, you may speak to Fr John for more information.
As we continue to offer Jesus as a sacrifice to the Father, we offer the men in our lives, our fathers, our husbands, no matter how imperfect they may have been, our sons, our deacons, priests, bishop. We unite them with the Sacrifice of Jesus and ask the Lord to bless them and make them true men after his heart. If you are a man, ask the Lord to make you into a man after his heart. If you are a father, I know, being a father is difficult. But God did not make you one if he will not give you the grace to fulfil it. And if you think you had made mistakes and had not been a good father, come to Jesus. He can make things new in his way, he will heal you in the power of the Holy Spirit, in his time.
Lastly, if you are a single man who thinks God has called you to priesthood, offer yourself to the Lord. Ask him to give you wisdom and courage to respond to his call. We also offer our thanks to the Lord for Fr John who gave the past 40 years of his life, showing God’s love, giving God’s life so others may live, nurturing his flock in the Truth of God so that God may be glorified in all things.

A PDF copy of this homily is available for download.

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