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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day and calming the waters

Greetings to one and all from Eagle River, WI.

Tomorrow is Father's Day. I will be speaking of that in my Sunday homily. The Gospel text of the day is the story of Jesus calming the waters. MMmmmm. How do these two things fit together?

It's no secret that the role of fathers has changed. As I travel around I note that many men's rooms in roadside rest areas have baby changing areas--and they are used. Dads are doing many things that only mom did twenty or thirty years ago--cooking, cleaning, child care, etc. I think that is all for the good. There are also dads who are divorced or separated, but who still have contact with their kids and who are involved in their lives. Behind all of this there is one thing, I think, that good fathers have always done--teach their kids to get through difficult times. My father, who died in January of 2007, did that for me.

Let's take a look at today's gospel passage (Mark 4, 35-41). Mark has Jesus asleep on a cushion in the back of the boat (peculiar?) while the disciples are fighting the wind and the waves. They wake him in a panic and ask why he is not doing something about the situation. He promptly calms the seas but also rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith. What's that all about. Doesn't the fact that they call upon him indicate their faith? Not really. When we take a deeper look we realize that He has sent them and us the Spirit so that we can get through stormy waters without asking Him to do it. So often we look for the "divine bailout plan" instead of using the gifts that god gives us.

So it is with fathers and children. When we're young Dad and Mom do things for us. We need that. We're totally dependent on them. Like Jesus they little by little teach us how to navigate the stormy waters of life and give us the confidence that we can do so. That is the challenge to all fathers, of all types. That is what good dads have been doing for years.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers who read this blog. Let us pray for strength and healing for those dads who struggle to do this. And let us thank God and remember in prayer our fathers and grandfathers who are now with God.

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