16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Love endures…as it lives on even beyond death, it stays with us not just in our memories but in our hearts, as an active part of our lives…a part of who we are and how we are in the world…and how we relate with others.
In today’s Gospel the risen Christ commissions his disciples to go out into the world to continue his ministry, to share the good news of God’s love with all who cares to hear it! In this commission Jesus promises that always be with them, wherever they go, as love endures, and lives beyond death…filling us with hope and the promise that death is not the end of our relationship with our loved one…that they continue to live with us, and guide us through the lessons they have taught us.
Today is Father’s Day, a day to remember our fathers, and the men who were father figures to us…and on this day I a remembering my father, a man who gave me a new life, by welcoming me into his family as his adopted son!
My father was a teacher, a College Math Professor, and he taught me many things, from Math lessons that we struggled over together, to hard earned life lessons…and even now years after his death, his voice continues to be with me…to speak wisdom to me, and the love I feel for him endures!
As a single dad, Father’s Day also means a lot to me, as I have spent the best part of the last 20 years raising my daughter on my own…and it was time well spent, time I would not have wanted to spend any other way!
My father’s voice has spoken to me many times while raising my daughter…the lessons he taught me about patience, kindness and tolerance has helped me to treat my daughter more fairly when we got into a conflict, and his wisdom has helped me when she came to me with a problem that I wasn’t sure how to solve.
What my father taught me about faith and the presence of God in our lives has helped me to teach her the importance of having a Higher Power in her life…if not a belief in God, then at least to have something to believe in. His lessons about the power of hope have helped us both even when all looked hopeless.
While not every father (or parent) is a perfect role model, and some can do the best thing for their kids by simply staying away from them; even the worst of parents teaches lessons to their children…sometimes good and sometimes bad…and sometimes they teach us what NOT to do. It is hoped that whatever the lesson, it turns out to be good learning for their children.
Just as Jesus has called upon his disciples to share his teachings about the good news of God’s love with others…through our words and deeds, as parents we too are called to share what we have learned from our parents and our faith with our children, other parents, and with anyone who could benefit from our wisdom. By sharing what we have learned with others, especially our children, we open ourselves to learn from them as well.
And through these lessons we share with each other, the legacy of our parents’ lives on; my father not only lives in my heart and in my memories but in what I teach my daughter, how I treat her, relate with her, and live my life as a power of example (both good and bad examples)…and through these lessons the wisdom ad love of my father, and of myself will continue to live on through my daughter, as she shares these lessons in her life.
The love of our parents’ endures just as the love of Christ has stayed with us through the centuries…and the grace of God surrounds us in all we do…death or distance cannot separate us from the love of those we care about, and those who care about us…for me, the love my father gave me lives on in the lessons he taught me, in the fact that he and my mother welcomed me into their family as their own child (NOT as an adopted son).
My father was a teacher through and through, and he was also a man of faith, who believed strongly in God’s love and presence in the world, and shared this belief through all that he did…and all that he taught me, my siblings, his students, and anyone else, who knew him.
Today is a day to honor our fathers, for the love they gave us, the lessons they taught us, and how they influenced our lives. Today we can also remember all those men in our lives who were worthy of the title of “Father” who did not hesitate to step in to help those who needed the guidance and support of a father in their lives; it could be an uncle, a step-father, a close friend, teacher, another parent, etc…
For me, these other men included some of my friends’ fathers, my god-father, men who helped to guide me through the early days of my sobriety, and of course my older brothers (including my brother in law – who is like a brother to me); as I learned a lot about how to be a good father from watching their examples!
As fathers, and as parents, we learn from all those who have shown us the way to parenting that ‘works’ even if it is not perfect or pretty – parenting seldom is, but then again, following anyone is faith is not always easy…just as the disciples also had a rough road ahead as they sought to follow Christ, and make his message of good news known in the world! This is why Jesus called upon his disciples and upon all of us to support each other…promising that he would always be with us, as a sure sign of God’s grace and love in our lives.
As Christians we live in the light of this promise…and share this light with others, especially our children, as we teach them and prepare them to face life, and remind them that although it may not be easy, life IS good, and that the love and faith we share have the power to light up any dark place we may find ourselves in…and that this is a reason for celebration and for joy…as we have been given a great gifts: the gift of being immersed in the grace and in the enduring love of God…the gift of being able to share our faith with each other…and most of all, the gift of being a parent—and this gift is the best reason to celebrate today and every day!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for the fathers in our lives, and for those who take on the role of father for us. Please help us to take the lessons that they have taught us and share them with our children, and with all those around us. Let us learn from each other as we share these lessons…for in doing so we are keeping the lessons and love of our fathers alive…just as through sharing the good news of God’s love we make Christ known in the midst of our world! Thank you that real love endures and that death cannot still its power or its voice…as we celebrate together the many gifts given to us by our fathers and our Heavenly Father…especially the gift of being a parent!