A few weeks ago we celebrated our moms and offered Mass to them. Celebrating Father’s Day today, we are doing the same – offering our dads, on the altar of God during this Holy Mass and invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on them while we thank God for the life of those dads who are called to eternal life. At a time when the Fathers’ role in the family and in society is not fully appreciated, it is good that today we can celebrate, congratulate and pray for the men who continue to reflect the Divine qualities of fatherhood as they lovingly establish, nourish and maintain their families.
Lucille Ball, who became one of America’s top comedic actresses with the 1950s TV show, I Love Lucy, did a remarkable TV interview with Merv Griffin shortly before her death. He asked her a very serious and pointed question: “Lucille, you’ve lived a long time on this earth and you are a wise person. What’s happened to our country? What’s wrong with our children? Why are our families falling apart? What’s missing?” Lucille Ball answered without hesitation: “Papa’s missing. Things are falling apart because Papa’s gone. If Papa were here, he would fix it.”
Her pertinent comment has been confirmed with some recent studies that have demonstrated how important a father is to his child’s development. Children with fathers present have lower rates of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers. The father’s presence is also a significant positive factor in children’s getting a college education, finding a satisfying job, and making a lasting marriage. Psychotherapists today are saying that both parents are vitally important to the stable development of their children; the mother’s input is invaluable in the formative pre-adolescent years but the father’s most important influence is at adolescence. Single mothers tell us that it is terribly difficult to teach their children about the meaning of God the Father Who seems so impersonal because their children have been abandoned by their natural fathers. Adolescent daughters long to hear from their fathers that they are beautiful and loved. In fact, a girl’s choice of a partner and satisfaction in marriage is often directly related to the relationship she has had with her father.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the vital importance of the father’s role comes from the fact that, with his wife, he cooperates with God the Creator in bringing a new human life into the world. There is no power greater than that (#2367). I invite us all to have a look at a few Biblical references to fathers: Genesis 2:24, Exodus 20:12, Ezekiel 19:19-20, Sirach 3:1 16, Matthew 19:16-22, John 1:14, 2 Cor. 6:16-18, Ephesians 6: 1-4, 1 Thess. 2:11 – 12.
Happy Father’s Day!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal