THEME: THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS GROWING
Objective: That we may continue to contribute to its growth.
Today’s readings are about the birth and growth of the Kingdom of God, as demonstrated by the gigantic growth of the Church from one person Jesus, to over two billion. It is a slow and mysterious growth, guided by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The first reading, taken from Ez 17:22-24, tells us how the Lord God of Israel will allow a descendant of King David, that is to say, Jesus, to become the savior and king of the world. His Kingdom is the tree referred to in the reading and the birds of every kind that will rest in it are all peoples. Jesus will organize all who obey God’s will.
In the second reading (2 Cor 5:6-10), St. Paul admonishes the Corinthians and us as well to do God’s will, thus advancing the growth of God’s kingdom, which is His rule in our lives.
In today’s gospel (Mk 4:26-34), Jesus encourages his disciples by comparing the growth of the kingdom of God to that of a tiny mustard seed which grows into a tall, large tree. Like the mustard seed, the reign of God in human hearts and the growth of the Church in the world have small beginnings. But the Source of all life, God the Holy Spirit, gives to both a steady, persistent and gigantic growth into the world-wide church that welcomes people of all races and nations into her folds!
We should never be discouraged about our faith or the faith of our relatives or neighbors. If you feel dry, losing faith, or if it is your relatives in that situation, keep praying. Do your best and God will do the rest at his right time. The kingdom parables (of the sower, the harvest, the mustard seed, in Mk 4) point to the kingdom as a divine act rather than a human accomplishment. They call on man to be patient with the delay of the kingdom in coming.
The acceptance of God’s rule by human beings is a very slow process. We should continue sowing tiny seeds in the form of words of love, acts of encouragement, deeds of charity, mercy and forgiveness. Then God’s Kingdom will continue to grow. We should never be discouraged about its growth in us.
Humble beginnings make great achievements. Cf. Mother Angelica and EWTN or MFS.
(Mother Angelica, who had a rough and poor childhood, became the only woman in religious broadcasting to own a network, called EWTN. EWTN is available 24 hours a day everywhere in the world, thus spreading the Word of God to the entire world.) Even the Kingdom of God will cover the whole world. God will defeat His enemies one by one as.
Each one of us is called upon to make his/her own contribution to the growth of God’s Kingdom, like mother Angelica and others have done. Let us begin with the spiritual growth of each one of us, of our families, our Church and other communities. May the Holy Eucharist assist us in doing so.
God works in mysterious ways. God is still with us even when our efforts are frustrated, because He is the source of growth.
The same process works in the Christian life. We practice daily prayer and Bible reading. We find ways to be of service to others. We pledge money and time to the church and charitable purposes. We join the people of God at the altar regularly. These are some of the seeds that God uses to mold and shape our lives in love, peace and hope. But it happens at God’s own pace and as we are able to cooperate with Him.
Happy Father’s Day to all who are fathers or grandfathers or stepfathers, or foster-fathers. Five weeks ago we observed Mother’s Day and offered Mass for 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 Holy Mass, invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on them so that they may be remembered as loving, caring and disciplining, always available and willing to do for their children whatever is needed to help them.
The originator and promoter of Father’s Day was Mrs. Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington whose father, William Jackson Smart, had accomplished the amazing task of rearing his six children after their mother’s death at an early age. Mrs. Dodd’s suggestions for observing the day included wearing a flower — a red rose to indicate a living father and a white rose for a dead father. In 1972, President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday in June a National Day of Observance in honor of fathers.
Father’s role in the society: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the vital importance of the father’s role comes from the fact that he with his wife cooperates with God the Creator in bringing a new human life into the world. Children with fathers present have a much lower rate of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers.
Fathers make sacrifices day after day for their families. They try to give their youngsters the kind of model that surely they deserve above all else, a model of goodness, holiness, faith, trust in God and fidelity to the teachings of the Church. True fatherhood demands commitment. Commitment demands maturity, sacrifice, and love. Fatherhood also demands responsibility. Every true father will take responsibility for all of his actions. Our nation has an urgent need of good fathers.
But while the idea of fatherhood is a good one, the reality we see on earth is sometimes quite different. Some fathers abandon their children, beat them, ridicule or ignore them, abuse them and damage them psychologically for life. Even good fathers have their limits. Unfortunately, we unduly sentimentalize fatherhood, the media often ridicule and make fun of it and we treat it with contempt. We are reminded time after time of the number of children growing up fatherless because their fathers have abandoned them, their fathers have been unfaithful.
A day to remember our Heavenly Father and our Rev. Fr. Pastor: Father’s Day is a day to remember, acknowledge and appreciate the “World’s Greatest Dad,” OUR HEAVENLY FATHER (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6) who is our spiritual Daddy, actively involved in all areas of our lives. It is He on Whom we lean in times of pain and hurt.
On this Father’s Day please don’t forget to pray for us, pastors – your spiritual Fathers, men who are called to be Fathers to the parish family through the sacrament of Holy Orders. If you find it hard to raise your children, how harder can it be for the pastor to care for the entire parish!