ON THIS TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we have the perfect Gospel for our times when it seems as if the world is unraveling at the seams, and we worry about many things. Just think of all the things we are worried about: parents worried about their children, people worried about their health or that of others, farmers worrying about the weather or their livestock, financial worries, worries about relationships, worries about jobs, worries about the problems throughout the world, worries about so many different things. From time to time we all feel frightened like the disciples in the boat and like them we cry out in fear. But just as in today’s Gospel, Jesus comes to us in some way, usually through the help of those near to us and says, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.” How often I have heard it said, “If it wasn’t for the help of so-and-so, I would never have made it through that time.” Therefore when we are worried let us turn to Jesus and continue to trust in Him. Was Jesus ever afraid? Did Jesus ever worry? Yes he did. And what did He do when he had worries and how did He cope? On two occasions in the Gospel we see Jesus afraid. On each of the two occasions He prayed to His Father and in prayer He got the strength to continue and face the difficult situation. In Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion, He prayed to His Father to let the cup (i.e. His passion) pass Him by. Jesus’ prayer was answered because He got the strength to face his passion, “Not my will, but yours be done.” On another occasion, also thinking of His passion, Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled” (John 12:27). Imagine Jesus saying “Now my soul is troubled.” It is perhaps a bit of a shock but on this occasion also Jesus prayed to His Father and recovered His strength during prayer. When troubles and worries come our way, our best approach is the approach of Jesus. Pray, and we will get the strength to continue. Whatever happens continue to trust in Jesus. When troubles come our way often we forget that God is still with us. It is strange really, but that is what happens to so many people when they get upset. They think God has gone on vacation. But that is not so. God is still with us. We cannot always rely on our all-too-human feelings, and we can rely on them still less when there is something bothering us or weighing us down. The truth is that God is with us always, whether or not we feel His presence. Don’t ever forget that Jesus and Mary are always with you no matter what your feelings tell you. While we are guilty of turning our backs on God, Jesus, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, they never turn their backs on us – they never abandon us. Turn to them, reach out to them, trust in them, hold on tight to them!
TODAY WE CELEBRATE FATHER’S DAY and in a very special way we remember our fathers, both living and deceased, and we give them the love and honor they so richly deserve. If you father has died, today is a wonderful day to take the family to the cemetery to pray over his grave and to tend to his grave, and perhaps to share a story or two. And we pray:
God our Father, we give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.
We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation;
May they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.
We pray for our own Fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering;
May they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.
We pray for men who are not fathers but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.
We remember fathers, grandfather, and great grandfathers who are no longer with us but who live
forever in our memory and nourish us with their love. Amen.
ONCE MORE WE CONGRATULATE AND THANK DEACON THOM JOHNSTON as he retires from 30 years of active diaconal ministry, celebrates 60 years of marriage to his wife, Mary Alice, and turns 90 years old. Choice blessings upon you and your family, and as you continue pastoral ministry for the benefit of our parishes and the people of God!