Father's Day was near when I brought my three-year-old son, Tyler, to the card store. Inside, I showed him the cards for dads and told him to pick one. When I looked back, Tyler was picking up one card after another, opening them up and quickly shoving them back into slots, every which way. "Tyler, what are you doing?" I asked. "Haven't you found a nice card for Daddy yet?" "No," he replied. "I'm looking for one with money in it."
Five weeks ago we honored our moms. Today, on this Father's Day, we are doing the same, offering our dads – living or dead – on the altar of God during this Holy Mass, invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on them. Today we celebrate, congratulate and pray for the men who continue to reflect the divine qualities of fatherhood as they lovingly establish, nourish and maintain family. Pope Francis says, “I have great love for Saint Joseph because he is a man of silence and strength.” St. Joseph is the patron of fathers, families, and the Universal Church. Pope Francis says that faith does not distance us from the world. On the contrary, it brings us closer. For that reason, St. Joseph is a model father for the Christian family. He overcame the difficulties of life because he rested with God. Fathers are a blessing and we thank them for blessing us with lives of dedication, endurance, and love. Happy Father’s Day!!
This weekend we hear two farming stories. The first reading from the book of Ezekiel prophesied that the Lord would take a tender shoot from a cedar tree and turn it into a noble cedar, the people recognized in this prophecy that growth is always in God's hands. Cedar grows best in mountainous regions. Mountains were also symbolic of getting closer to God and further from the influences of the world. Israel, a nation in exile at the time of this prophecy, would become the nation that the whole world would look to with respect. The renewed nation, growing with the blessings of God, will be a blessing for many peoples. The Savior would come from Israel. Every kind of bird, all the nations, would live under the tree of Israel.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus provides another description of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed, which, once planted, grows into a large tree. The smallest of beginnings need not discourage us. God works wonders in us. Jesus invites us to allow the kingdom of God to blossom and live in our hearts.
God does wonders. The question is, do we believe and recognize it? How was our faith ten or twenty years ago, and what does it look like today? I am sure it has changed for everyone. The reading tells us our God is a God of growth. We need to recognize the God’s work in our faith lives. In our second reading, St. John reminds us that: “We walk by faith, and not by sight.” May all of us grow in our faith and God continue to do wonders through us.
My trip to India: Thank you everyone for holding me in prayer. I had a wonderful time with family and friends. May is supposed to be peak summer, but this year the rain started early and cooled it down quite a bit. So it was a very pleasant time for me. Thank you.