Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Fathers must be forgiven and forgive others: 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time
A very happy Father’s Day to all Dads and Grandpas. I am pleased to wish my own Dad a happy Father’s Day as he is present at Mass this morning. As he walked into church this morning we both wished each other a good day as I celebrate my first Father’s Day as a priest. I hope my parents didn’t get me too large of a gift. (Note the sarcasm!)
We have some powerful readings about forgiveness this morning. First, we see David called out for his sins. This great king, with riches, power and ability beyond imagination, fell hard. He lusted, lied, murdered and committed adultery. Yet David quickly showed contrition: “I have sinned against the LORD.” God immediately forgives David his egregious sins: “Nathan answered David: ‘The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.’” The Gospel records a sinful woman who fell at Jesus’ feet in penance for the sins everyone knew she had committed. Jesus uses her humility to teach that love comes from forgiveness.
I would ask all of you—especially our fathers—to consider two crucial features of living out the Christian life. First—are you a man who asks for forgiveness? Do you regularly go to God in your heart, at Mass and especially the sacrament of Confession to ask of God’s mercy? I have found that Dads who go to Confession bring their whole families to this great second. Additionally, do you apologize to your wife when you are out of line? Sometimes the three words “I am sorry” are more difficult for men to say than “I love you,” but they are just as important. Do you swallow your pride and ask forgiveness from your wife? What about your children? After losing your patience, acting out of anger or messing up in another way, are you man enough to seek your children’s forgiveness?
Second—are you a man who forgives others? Do you show love and mercy to your wife when she sins against you? Do you welcome your children back into your arms after they make a mistake? Do you forgive your coworker that annoys you? Are you able to forgive, as Christ does, the most wicked in our world?
Dads—part of your job is to maintain your relationship with God, wife, children and others. This requires being forgiven and then forgiving. Are you doing this?
Finally, on the day we celebrate our earthly Dads, we must not forget to praise our heavenly Father. In fact, any time our Dads act well—by showing love and mercy to all, procreating life, providing, protecting and establishing their families—they act as icons of the Father. They give us a hint of God who created the entire cosmos and knit us in our Mother’s womb all the while sustaining our being.
Today we thank God the Father for our earthly Fathers. We pray that they may be men who receive and extend forgiveness as they strive to be Fathers as God Himself is.