Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle A
Authority over unclean spirits
In the Gospel today we hear about how Jesus gave the disciples authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to cure every illness.
Authority of Fathers
Today, in our country we will celebrate another group of men to whom God has given authority – they are Fathers – men who by the grace of God have a profound authority in the life of their children, Today I would like to reflect on the role of the Father.
[[GO AND GET THE TOOL BENCH]]
[[GO AND GET SOME BLUEPRINTS]]
Fathers are fundamental in Gods plan
I have brought a few things with me today to help us reflect on Fatherhood – the first of which is a plan. In today’s Gospel we see that Jesus had a plan for communicating the Gospel to the world, a plan that was carried out by the disciples. Before Christ called his disciples to carry out His plan, God the Father had a more profound plan, to show the world his love through Fathers.
[[UNROLL THE PLANS ON THE TABLE]].
Fathers are universal – everyone has one
Fathers play a fundamental role in everyone’s life. None of us are here without a father. Fathers reflect God the Fathers role in creation – Fathers create life outside of themselves out o live.
[[GET SOME WOOD AND SCREWS AND SCREW GUN]]
Fathers form the primordial lens that we look through to see God the Father.
In a profound way, Father’s form within their children the primordial image of who God the Father is. No one can think about God without seeing God through the image of their own Father. This means that everything we dad’s do has relevance and importance. As children we grow up looking at how our Father did things. This becomes for us a standard and a goal. Some of us have excellent standards, which are like a good ruler
[[TAKE UP A RULER AND START MEASURING OUT THE WOOD]]
No Father to measure myself against
while others have poor examples, or non-existent examples. One of my dear friends had his Father murdered when he was 12 years old. One day while we were talking about being Dad’s, he shared that losing his Dad at that age had a profound effect on him, and in a certain sense made him rely more on the example of God the Father in his own Fatherhood. Being a good father means we establish within our children a good standard, a measure of what it means to be a Dad, a clear lens through which our children will see God the Father.
Spend some time cooperating with God the Father
Given the profound role we play in God’s plan for all people. Dad’s need to spend some time today thinking about how we are cooperating with God’s plan.
What ways do we cooperate with His plan for our children?
[[CALL OVER ONE OF THE ALTAR SERVERS TO HELP]].
Father’s Teach their children
Another role that Father’s play in the lives of their children is to teach them. Father’s teach by doing. [[GET SOME WOOD AND HOLD IT ON THE TABLE]]. Our children watch our actions closely, and they learn from our actions. As Father’s we share in the mission of the disciples. We do this by establishing a family that is founded on love, the love that we show to our wives. Pope John Paul II described the family as the Domestic Church –
- the place where children are schooled in what it means to love,
- what it means to care,
- what it means to pray and
- what it means to sacrifice for one another.
[[START SCREWING SOME WOOD TOGETHER]]
What are the lessons that we are teaching?
Are our families places of love and peace, places where God is found? What lessons are we Fathers teaching our children? The readings today call us to examine ourselves in our vocation.
Oops – Time to correct our mistakes
We might see things that we are ashamed of – if we do, then rejoice – not in our shame, but in the opportunity to change, to start anew and to correct the mistakes of the past.
[[UNSCREW THE WOOD AND CORRECT THE PROBLEM]]
Fathers teach prayer – Fathers Bless
Because Fathers are in God’s primordial plan on how people get to know Him, all Fathers have a special role in teaching their children about God. We do this when we gather our families for prayer, when we pray with our wives, we set the tone at family celebrations and gatherings. Today is a day for Fathers to begin anew to teach about God, in our actions, words and deeds.
We learn from scriptures that Fathers are called to Bless their children like God blesses us. Never pass up an opportunity to bless your children. This is a special role that both Mothers and Fathers share. Even when they are teen-agers sneak into their rooms in the middle of the night and bless your children, on the forehead the Father, and Son and Holy Spirit. When your children gather with you today, take this opportunity to give them your blessing. Never loose sight of your vocation to bless your children.
Fathers are not teaching the faith in the Church today
As a church we struggle with this. The Dad’s who have come here today might want to seriously consider helping out in teaching Catechism this next year. If you find yourself wondering about your faith – teaching it is a sure-fire way to learn. 90% of our teachers here are women. We are extremely grateful for their ministry, but the truth is, that our children are learning an incomplete view of the faith. We need Father’s to step up to the plate, and to teach the faith in the Church as well as at the home.
[[FINISH THE CROSS AND BEGIN TO PUT AWAY THE TOOLS]]
Fathers are Dragon Slayers
I have an Icon in my prayer book. It is the smallest of all Icon’s, just the size of a business card. It is an Icon of St. George – who was famous for slaying the dragon. Everyone has heard of the story of George and the Dragon. Often, when I get up and pray in the morning, I am reminded by that Icon of my vocation as a Father, and as a Dragon Slayer.
The Dragon we slay is that of Sin
In Iconography, the Dragon represents Sin, evil. The dragon that St. George slew was of sin in his life. All Fathers have been given authority to guard and protect their family from all evil. When we decide that it is time to go about slaying dragons we need to start at home, not with our wife, or our kids, but with ourselves. The first dragons we need to confront are the sins in our own lives that take us away from God, that invite Satan into our lives, and into our homes.
Dragon Slaying takes courage
Dragon Slaying is hard work, it starts with prayer and humility – confession – asking God for forgiveness, going to our spiritual Father and asking for the blessing of almighty God, and the healing grace that Jesus poured out for us on the Cross. [[HOLD UP THE CROSS]]. This takes true courage – but remember, it is ok because your children are watching, and they are learning from you by your actions.
What are the Dragons that attack us?
Many Fathers in the world today struggle against mighty dragons. This is where we call upon the grace of the Holy Spirit – of Perseverance. Get up and try again. I know that many of us here suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography, indifference or anger. Take the opportunity this week to avail yourself of the disciples witness to drive out unclean spirits – be healed and become stronger in your relationship with God. When Father’s choose to do this; their families are transformed into places of love, peace and joy.
What is a Father?
A Father is a man who cooperates with God to create new life – his children. He provides for his family an environment that is safe from the forces of evil. His life reflects the love of God. A Father is the primordial lens through which his children come to know God. The witness of our love for our families is in the way we sacrifice to bring about the best possible things for our children. Let us spend this day celebrating the love of our fathers, and reflecting on the sacrifice of our heavenly Father.
[[GIVE THE CROSS TO THE SERVER, PUT AWAY THE TOOLS AND THE BENCH]]