These past two weeks I have experienced a couple of priests of our diocese losing their own fathers. The first is your own pastor, Fr. Lee. It’s particularly hard when you are in a foreign country, and you are thousands of miles away from your own family. You are unable to be there to mourn and to comfort.
Another priest who lost his father is Fr. Miles Walsh of Our Lady of Mercy. At his father’s funeral, Fr. Miles shared an experience he had traveling through
Jesus used the same word when he referred to God the Father. In the
And today, we are celebrating Jesus’ return to his ‘daddy’ in heaven. It is a joyous day for Jesus who, out of love for us has left his father’s side in heaven, assumed a lowly human nature, vanquished death and sin by his own death on the cross, and now returns to his beloved Father through Ascension. And he takes his human nature as a gift to the Father. He is now at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us on behalf of us, and at the same time fulfills the promise he made, “I will be with you until the end of time,” by being right here body, soul, and divinity in the tabernacle of
What is Jesus’ message for us in his Ascension? He said, “I’m going to the Father to prepare a place for you. And if I’m going to prepare a place for you, I will come back again to take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be.” Elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus tells us what the meaning of our very own lives means—our eternal life with the God the Father. He says to the Father, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
As much as Jesus tried to help us realize this, there are signs today that we don’t believe him. This is especially true of some of our young people. They say things such as “There is no meaning in life.” A while ago, a mother wrote a distressing letter to me. Her teenage son, who was a good kid, took a whole bottle of aspirin one night. He didn’t feel like living because there was no meaning. How many moms and dads in our own community have to grapple with this tragedy? Despite the fact that our children are well provided for materially and emotionally, our young people still fall prey to the loss of the meaning of life so typical of current teenage culture.
Whereas human mothers are always the source of nurturing and loving presence, human fathers play such a crucial role in instilling in our children the vision or the meaning of life. And if our human fathers and mothers themselves are not convinced of the truth of our eternal life with God the Father, then they certainly cannot teach to their children convincingly that life is about knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. In other words, our own faith—that is, our own relationship with Jesus and the Father--will help instill the hope and meaning in our children--the hope and conviction that each and every moment is a precious gift from God.
How many hours do you think it took Fr. Lee to visit his own father by plane to