Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Homily: Corpus Christi / Fathers' Day 2006

Mark Twain once wrote…

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned."

When we’re young…convinced we know everything…
convinced we’re invincible…
we often think our parents are pretty foolish.

As we grow up, we realize how much they really knew…
or, rather, how much we have learned from them over the years.

As we celebrate Father’s Day,
we are given an opportunity to pause and reflect
on the blessing our fathers and grandfathers have been in our lives,
to appreciate what they have done and what they have taught us.

It is also a moment for us to recall that we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly
What does mean to be children of a Heavenly Father?
It means that, in a way similar to our relationship to our earthly fathers,
we need Him,
we are called to love Him,
and we must honor and obey Him.
In our weakness and sinfulness…as frail human beings,
we depend on the grace and mercy of God to strengthen us.

We were created by God to know Him and love Him,
so that we may find true happiness in loving Him above all things in this life
and especially in the life to come.

Our Heavenly Father sets before us Commandments,
not simply as laws to restrict us
but as guides to show us the way to real freedom, and authentic happiness.
So often we are tempted to look at the Commandments of God,
and think that our Heavenly Father is ignorant of our life’s situation.
God just doesn’t understand!
Truly, our Father in Heaven does understand,
He does love us,
and He longs to bring us into the fullness of His truth.
Our calling as Christians is to trust in Him, and follow where He leads.

As Catholic Christians, we look to our priests as leaders and call them “Father.”

The ancient tradition of the Church looks on the local churches as families,
of which the bishop is a “father.”

And do we not call the Pope the “Holy Father.”

The Church is more than a corporation. It is a family.
When the teachings and the laws of the Church seem to us a great burden,
or the imposition of a Pope far away who is ignorant of our situation,
we must recall that the pastors of the Church are the “fathers” of our
spiritual family.

Our earthly fathers and our fathers in the Church
share together in the essence of “Fatherhood”
which they receive as a gift from God our Heavenly Father.

That is…a father passes on his life to his children.

Our earthly fathers give us life, and teach us life’s important lessons.

Priests and bishops pass on life through the sacraments they celebrate,
those outward signs of God’s mysterious grace.

And in all of this, it is God our Heavenly Father who is at work…
the Author of all life…
and the source of the grace poured out in sacramental signs.

The most august of all sacraments,
through which the very life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
is poured out for us…
is the Eucharist.
The Eucharistic Sacrifice is more than the blood of bulls and goats.
It is more than a covenant sealed in animal sacrifice.

It is a new covenant, sealed with the blood of the Son of God who became man.
It is truly the Bread of Life…and the Cup of Eternal Salvation.
It is the life-blood of Jesus, which we receive,
so that we become one with Christ.

Our celebration of the Holy Mass
is an expression of our faith…
faith in the real and abiding presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist demands faith…
for it is a reality which is not perceptible to human senses.

Through faith we know that the Father sent Jesus…
and that Jesus gave His very life for our salvation
Because He did not want to abandon His people, after He ascended to the Father,
He left us the Eucharist as His sacramental presence.
He continues to remain with us, and to give us His life.

How have we made a return for the goodness of the Lord?
How have we responded to the awesome and undeserved grace of our
Heavenly Father?

The grace of the Eucharist is not a gift to be squandered
but a treasure to be cherished.
Our love for Christ should inspire us to express our faith in His presence through
outward signs.
This is why we genuflect toward the Tabernacle…
why we bow our heads before receiving Communion…
why we strive to remain attentive to the prayers of the Mass
and participate as fully as possible…
and why we prepare for Communion…
by receiving the Sacrament of Penance
and fasting for one hour before receiving Communion.

Because the Eucharist is such a marvelous gift from our Heavenly Father…
because it is a sharing in the very life of the one who gave His life for us…
we respond with lives that show forth our love and faith.

Those who pass on life to us deserve our love and honor.
Our fathers deserve our love because they gave us life.
Our pastors deserve our respect because it is through their hands that we receive
the divine life of the sacraments.
Our Heavenly Father deserves to be loved above all else.

This Father’s Day, as we show our gratitude for all our dads have done for us,
may we also give thanks for our Heavenly Father’s love,
that love which He shows us in sending us His only Son,
as we approach with faith and love to meet Jesus, our Bread of Life and our eternal salvation.

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