From the Pastor – June 20, 2021

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” (Mk 4:37-41)

“Fatherhood” is something to which we’re introduced to at a very young age.  While not as “immediate” as motherhood (we’re in our mother’s womb for 9 months!), our father is one of the first people to whom we’re “introduced.”  But fatherhood can’t be reduced to simply begetting a child.  Fatherhood is one of the most important relationships in our entire earthly society; fatherhood points to our relationship with God.  One of the most important models of fatherhood is St. Joseph, the “foster father” of Jesus as we celebrate this Year of St. Joseph..  Although very little is said about St. Joseph in Sacred Scripture, there’s something very profound about the relationship between Jesus and St. Joseph.  As a young boy, Jesus would have addressed St. Joseph as “abba,” a name still used by most Semitic children for their father.  It combines some of the intimacy of the English word “papa” or “dad” while retaining the dignity of the word “father.”  It’s informal and endearing, yet respectful, and it’s among the first words a child learns to speak.  Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus used a word to address the first person of the Most Holy Trinity, He chose to use the same word that He first used to address St. Joseph?  Abba, Father.  And that is the same word that we use each time we pray at Mass:  “Our Father.”  That’s what makes fatherhood so important.  Our relationship with our earthly Dad influences how we understand God as Father!

On this Father’s Day we can recall the times we spent with our own fathers and the confidence we had in their protection when we were young.  This is confidence that the Apostles lacked in the Gospel story today.  Although they had already seen Jesus cure a man with a withered hand, heal a paralytic and case out demons (who called him the “Son of God”), they are terrified of the weather. They don’t have confidence in the Father’s protection.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty