Saturday, June 16, 2012

11th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Happy Father's day!

We begin with a character description of a person most important to me.  Personal stories are good when they remind us of our own stories.  Our stories help us grow inwardly so our outward expression of life and faith can be intertwined into something beautiful.  This is the story of my Dad.

He walks a mile nearly every day.  He quite remarkably survived some great hardships: The Great Depression that wracked the very substance of our country in the decades of the 1920s and 1930s, World War II (stationed with the U.S. Marines in Panama) and one that is almost unnoticed: difficulty in utilizing his G.I. Bill benefit guaranteeing (re)education while he transitioned back to civilization after the war.  He is among the last of his generation, now 88 years young and probably one of the only certified Architects in America (A.I.A.) who never studied or graduated at the baccalaureate level.  Although he lives a life of quiet solitude, his life's journey as seen through the lens of his professional fait acompli was chronicled in a 1975 edition of the journal, Who's Who in America.

He is my Dad.  And you may have already guessed, I am very proud of him.  Happy Father's day Dad, and to all Dads present here or not!

Link to today's Readings, Psalmody and Gospel

In our First Reading today, we hear from the Prophet Ezekiel, who was in exile with his Jewish brethren in Babylonia, after the destruction of the Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar in the early 6th Century, B.C.  The prophet tells us that God the Father will restore Israel to its greatness from the remnant.  This will be a great nation, in fact the greatest and God will ensure this.  This is a foreshadowing of Christ and Christianity; He the Light to all Nations and we his adopted children the bearers of His light to the world.

Our Responsorial Psalm reminds us that it is good to offer thanksgiving to God.  Prayer should never be limited to a crying out in our times of sorrow or hardship.  We must thank the Lord on our good days as well.  This is essential to good spiritual life, grounded in Christ.  The Psalmist invites to respond: Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

In our Second Reading, Saint Paul writes to the community at Corinth (modern day Greece).  
Here he teaches the local Church about the transcendence of the soul, and that our immortal soul's fate will be determined by Christ, the Just Judge.  The good/bad that we do while in the state of mortal flesh (our earthly lives) will be the fodder for judgement.

The Gospel from Saint Mark features the great parable of the "mustard seed".  OUr Lord gives us this image for the kingdom of heaven, He even explains that it is among the smallest of all seeds.  

This is a great teaching on faith, good works and proper disposition toward the things of the world.  Our faith needs to be nurtured.  Our resolve must be oriented toward the Triune God, revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit by the Son and Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.  We must be good sons and daughters to our Father in heaven to enjoy the rewards of heavenly paradise.

Today is the first Sunday in many weeks that we wear green at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Green is a color of hope. It is the color that says, "life springs eternal".  It is a sign of good things to come and a reminder that when we have our failings, when sin becomes apparent in our lives, our good and just Lord is there to forgive us and relieve us of our burdens.  That ultimately is what a good Father does for his children and our heavenly FAther is beyond perfect.  We need never fear going to Him for help, mercy and forgiveness.

To me and my siblings, our Dad has always been there for us.  It is quite remarkable that he is so full of vitality now and, I am sure, that it has everything to do with his great self-discipline that he learned from the sufferings of his life as well as the joys of hearing, seeking and implementing good wisdom for himself and others.  His seven children grew up in difficult times of our own: social revolution in the 60s, severe inflation and unemployment in the 70s and huge federal deficits in the 1980s.  We as sons and daughters suffered the loss of our Mom and his bride of 40 years in 1991.

We have survived and stand ready to flourish.  We can because the "seed" of the faith was nurtured well by our Mom and Dad.  Mom through her Catholic devotion, and Dad through his wisdom and parenting.  Let all of us resolve to be good and faithful servants of the Lord, nurturing the seeds of faith given to us through the Divine Creator and His human instruments  of pro-creation, Moms and Dads.

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