We are also facing some special circumstances in our own parish. Like any large family we have our share of problems, recently some particular financial ones because of our boiler going out. We also have received blessings, for example the great influx of young people and new families into our parish. These blessings--and problems--are what we bring to our celebration of Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. It is only in Him that any event of our lives finds its true meaning.
Our celebration of the Triduum is special this year for another reason. It is the last one before the new millennium. In anticipation of the Jubilee 2000, Pope John Paul II has stated that the year 1999 should be a "journey to the Father." He tells us: "The whole of Christian life is like a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father, whose unconditional love for every creature, especially for the 'prodigal son,' we discover anew each day." That is precisely what we do during these days of the Triduum: join ourselves to Jesus in his final journey to the Father.
I have to admit I have been thinking a lot about God the Father--and human fatherhood. Because Holy Thursday is such an intimate Mass, I would like to share some of my personal thoughts about fatherhood with you. I cannot do this without saying something about my own father.
Sometimes when I see people from my home parish, they will say to me, "you are becoming more and more like your dad every day." I think they are trying to compliment me, but I take it in a couple of senses. I always remember my dad being kind of quiet around us kids and I do see a lot of that in myself. It does not mean there are not deep emotions, even strong affection, just that the expression is sometimes difficult.
Now, I have four brothers and one sister so my dad obviously could not give equal attention to each one of us. In fact, we tended to get his attention when we got into some kind of trouble. I notice that in myself as well. As I said in the beginning, Holy Family has been blessed with a lot of young people and new families. They are much more likely to face crises--especially the ones who live a long way from their own parents and grandparents. In June we are going to add another Mass to better serve those young people who have come to us from great distances and from other cultures. That does not imply a lack of love and appreciation for those who have sacrificed for decades to make Holy Family the great parish it is. Nor does it mean you should get into some kind of problems in order to get my attention!
One of the advantages of growing up in a somewhat large family was that we kids helped each other--and still do today. That of course is my hope for this parish family. God has blessed us with so many talents and gifts. As spiritual father I hope to preside over that sharing of gifts, to encourage, but not to control. I have to say that as pastor one of the things that gives me the deepest joy is see parishioners spontaneously care for one another. Last year the father of one of our families was sent to jail. I was impressed by the way so many people, Anglos and Hispanics, came to the aid of the mom and her three children. And they also went to visit the dad in prison. I know about this because it was fairly dramatic, but so many other quiet ways, people of Holy Family are supporting one another.
Doing that is the living out of the tonight’s liturgy. In just a few moments Fr. Gallagher, Deacon Ted and I will wash the feet of the twelve who represent the apostles at the Last Supper. I have to say I do this with a certain humility, not because washing someone's feet is so hard, but being aware of my own weaknesses. I am not the spiritual father I should be to this community.
But tonight I am not sure those weaknesses are all that important. I think about my own dad. He passed away three and a half years ago. When I visit his grave, I remember him. He was not a perfect dad--but he was the one God chose for my brothers, my sister and me. What matters now are not his faults--but his role in the only thing that does count. What Pope John Paul spoke about--our journey to the Father.
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
See also: An Eternally Unbridgeable Chasm
The Fiery Furnace
Jesus Teaching Concerning Heaven
Some Good News on Teen Pregnancy and Abortion
Hitler's Pope: Comic Book Approach to Church History
He Approached the Victim: "It's much more likely one of your relatives will lose his life by surgical abortion than by heart attack."
Germaine Greer on Birth Control
Human Cloning: A Catholic Perspective (How the Unthinkable Became Inevitable)
Boston Globe's Misleading Article on Catholic Church
Deflating Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Stephen Jay Gould: Gorbachev of Darwinism?
Test Tube Offspring Want to Know Father
Erickson vs. Bartell Drugs
Call No Man Father
What is Original Sin of Sex?
Bicentennial Man (Hidden Assumptions)
Bogus Knights of Columbus Oath
Ossuary of James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus
St. Mary of the Valley Album
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