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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Homily Sunday May 25 - A Promise Keeper - Our Heavenly Father andearthly fathers.

Homily Sunday May 25 - A Promise Keeper -  Our Heavenly Father and earthly fathers.

Our God keeps His promises.

I've been very lucky to have a great family growing up.  You've heard about my grandma and grandpa, how after almost 68 years she was called home holding his hand in the house they raised their nine children in.  Well, this Gospel made me think about my own parents when Jesus speaks to the disciples like they are his children.

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,because it neither sees nor knows him.  But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Our God keeps His promises.  We are all His children, and his Son died for us all, not just an elite religious group.  And His Spirit is given for us all if we are open to it, just like the unrefined Samaritans.

We need to be promise keepers, too.

I read a book my first year of college by a popular protestant author John Eldredge called Wild at Heart. One of the chapters said that every one of us has a "father wound", because our earthly fathers could never perfectly love us.  We are all fighting against sin and evil both in the world and in our own hearts, and we all fall short.
Statistics of children growing up without a father in the home are pretty harsh.  71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.   (National Principals Association Report)  
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
This wound won't be healed by money, therapy, better grades, athletic success, material objects, or trips to Europe.  What they need to heal is the Gospel, the Good News of God's love.  And that love has to be lived right in front of their eyes in mom and dad.  And if life has caused some scars of brokenness that are too deep for that to happen, then mom and dad should do everything they can given the circumstances.  The parents, moms and dads, are the ones who show their kids that they are loved and valued.  If they don't show it, what could anyone do to make the children believe it?
My dad (and mom), however, prevented a lot of that "father wound" from us kids.  And here's three simple ways he did it.  
First, He just didn't quit.  Dad never stopped loving, forgiving, and being with me.  That's it.  Refuse to lose.  No gimmicks, no "one-liners" that wash away all of our mistakes, no tricks.  He persevered in being a father.
Secondly, Dad loved mom.  He showed it.  They didn't scream or fight or call names.  They hugged, and kissed, and shared household chores.  That is in fact good parenting, because it is that love, consecrated in the marriage covenant, that is the source of the family.
Thirdly, Dad kept his promises.  He got me to practices and games on time, bought me birthday gifts, supported my choice to be a priest, and even grounded me when he said he would.  That's promise keeping, and that helped me to know that God's promises can be trusted.  Our God keeps His promises, and He does not leave us orphan.
Let us pray that our earthly fathers can model this love of the Heavenly Father.

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,... For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

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