Put Out into the Deep

Our Fathers, Who Are in Heaven or on Earth

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

This week, we have the coincidence of celebrating Trinity Sunday and the secular holiday of Father’s Day. It is a happy coincidence, because as we meditate on the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, we recognize that it is the teaching of Jesus that reveals to us the Blessed Trinity, especially His relationship to His Heavenly Father. Jesus told us that He and the Father were one, that He had come to do the Father’s will and that in effect there was no division between them but only a union solidified by complete love, which the Holy Spirit gives to the life of the Trinity.

Also, we cannot forget St. Joseph who was the guardian of Jesus during His life, recognized by most as His earthly father. We recognize in Joseph’s sacrificial paternity the necessary element of sacrifice, which all fathers worth the name must give in order to truly reach the pinnacle of fatherhood. We see in the relationship of Jesus to the one known as His earthly father and His Heavenly Father. It is the ideal relationship that a father must have with his children.

Father’s Day is a day in which we remember and honor our earthly fathers and grandfathers, if we knew them. We try to remember the positive aspects of their fatherhood for us if they are no longer with us and show them our respect and love if we still have them with us in the world.

On a more personal level, I would like to share with you recollections of my own father, whom I resemble in appearance and personality. As a matter of fact, my older relatives sometimes mistake me for him. This often causes me to remember Jesus saying, “I and the father are one, and like father, like son.”

My first recollection of my father was at age five when he carried me on his shoulders, taking me to buy an ice cream cake for my birthday. He was a tall man, and at that age being on his shoulders probably made me feel like I was on top of the world. This is a memory that has stayed with me ever since that time.

His affection for me, as well as for my brother and sister, is something that none of his children can ever forget. Perhaps it might be good for you to take a minute to remember your own first recollection of your father. I hope that it is a positive one that allows you to celebrate this Father’s Day with joy.

My last recollection of my father is the day he died and my efforts to revive him, which were to no avail, after he had suffered a massive stroke. Unfortunately, he died at the rather young age of 66 after a series of health problems. His steadfastness and devotion to his family, however, is only something that I can try to imitate in my own responsibilities as the chief shepherd of the Church in Brooklyn and Queens. It is my hope that your memories or present relationship to your earthly father can give you the same positive feelings.

In our society today, unfortunately, fatherhood is not what it used to be, when so many families exist without fathers and are headed by single-mothers trying to substitute the role of father while trying to be mother at the same time. As we celebrate this Father’s Day, it might be good today to remember in our prayers, and if possible in our assistance, those who live in this world without their earthly father.

On this Trinity Sunday, we put out into the deep mystery of the Trinity. We recognize the unique relationship of love between the three persons who make the Trinity. In some way, we understand this mystery by reflecting on our own family relationship and how we are joined together in the mystery of love. Today truly is an opportunity for us to pray for all families, and most especially for fathers, that they might reflect God’s love for us all.

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