When Jesus chose a word to express the intimacy of His Relationship with God in our shared human nature, He chose the word “Abba,” which is really a word that defies translation. “Daddy, Papa, Dearest Father” are all efforts to share the depth of meaning. The closest might be “Da Da,” the first acknowledgement of the baby of his or her father, which competes with “Mama” for being the first word uttered in recognition. When He teaches us to pray, Jesus says, “When you pray, say ‘Abba.’”
On this day, we give recognition to our earthly fathers. This reminds us of the promise that is given to us in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We pray to Him every day in awareness that we are brothers and sisters: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven….” The best way to honor our fathers, grandfathers, godfathers and mentors on earth is to live in accord with the call of our Heavenly Father to love one another. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) We live in accord with Faith so that we may share the Eternal Life offered to us through Jesus Christ.
The program that many men of our parish and other parishes around the diocese have followed called “That Man Is You” reminds fathers that they are called to unite their families in prayer and worship, honoring our Heavenly Father and so giving example to their children. It also points out that practice of the Faith by the next generation often depends upon the witness of the father in the family. If Dad goes to church and prays, cooperating with Mom in the witness of Faith, it is more likely that the next generation will continue the tradition. So Father’s Day is a call to all earthly fathers to collaborate with the grace of the Holy Spirit in leading us all to honor our Father in Heaven.
As summer opens before us, may we continue to grow as a community of believers united in mind and heart who strive together to promote the greater glory of God our Father.