I want to be a Grandfather just like you!

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 11, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron

Father’s Day


Ezekiel 17:22-24 ~ I, God, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree …and make the withered tree bloom.

Psalm 92~ Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10~ We are always courageous…

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34 ~ Jesus said to the crowds, “Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”


            A dad told me that he and his little boy were having a real man-to-man conversation as they were playing in their back yard. The boy said, “Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up.” My friend, the dad, thinking his son would say, “Spiderman,” or some such thing, asked, “What do you want to be son…a fireman?” The child said, “No daddy, I want to be just like you.” You mean you want to be a doctor?” The boy said, “No, I want to be a father.”

Not all of us have had the best or most pleasant experiences with our fathers. The fruit of fatherhood often takes time to grow… first the blade, then the ear, and then the full grain in the ear. And sometimes fatherhood doesn’t bear fruit until long after the father dies.

The Gospel reminds me of a true story about a young man who left his native Italy and family just about five years after the 1918 flu epidemic. Antonio served in the medical corps back in Italy, during World War I. He came through Ellis Island past the Statue of Liberty on the S/S Bella Italiana with $50 in his pocket. Although he thought he was just visiting America, Antonio, only 27 years old, met a woman in Boston, Teresina, widowed with five children ranging from 14 to 5 years old. Antonio was both moved and pressured to marry her. After all, she spoke Italian and was beautiful.

The two grew as a couple saving up enough money to get all the children back from orphanages within a year. Together they had two daughters and then a son who died at birth.  Then a year later they had one more son, Matthew. Antonio worked with his stepsons and son in construction. Teresina invested the money earned into real estate. You could say that Teresina and Antonio’s family grew, put forth branches and bore much fruit, wealth and grandchildren. Only Matthew and his six sons could carry his father’s name, they had a respectful, sincere but cold relationship.

Teresina and Antonio often argued loudly and dramatically as many Italians do, but they loved each other. No one doubted that love until Teresina died after 55 years of marriage. She managed the money and her will seemed to say to Antonio, “I neva lova you, I only lova my first husband!”

            For the next five years, Antonio alienated just about every grandchild. One grandson who was 19 when Teresina died, would visit, but left as soon as his grandfather badmouthed his deceased grandmother in Italian. He usually left within 5 minutes. During the next five years, the visits got longer and longer until the grandson only left because he had to get back to school. He even took walks on the beach with his grandfather.

One day Matthew called his son who was in the seminary. This was before cell phones. “Son, last night, Grandpa was having a great time at his 89thbirthday party with the great grandkids.  I brought Grandpa back to his apartment and was putting his food in the refrigerator when he insisted I come to him. He was in his chair. ‘Ya Pa, what do you want?’ He said, ‘Mateo, I lova you.’ I told him I loved him too.” A sigh, “But Son, your grandfather had never said those words to me before.” Matthew took a breath and told his son,  “Your grandpa died some time last night. He never left that chair.”

Quiet! Be still!

A Father's Love

A Father’s Love

Prophet Job 38:1, 8-11

The Lord addressed Job out of the storm and said: …

Thus far shall you come but no farther,

   and here shall your proud waves be stilled!

Gospel According to Mark 4:35-41

“Let us cross to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”They took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.

Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm.

“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

Homily for 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time & Father’s Day

Welcome to hurricane, tornado or flood season. Actually, there are storms throughout the year. But what is the storm that terrifies us into waking Jesus up and asking him,

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

The real storm in each of our lives is anxiety.

What do we fear? What terrifies us?

Cancer in a loved one? Senseless shootings? Security? Enough for retirement? Final exams? Financial Distress? Poverty? Alzheimer’s? Gun Violence?

Let us Cross to the other side.

Let us Cross to the other side.

Where do the waves of anxiety break over our boat that is hopefully sailing toward guaranteed eternal life if we ask?

“Today you will be with me in Paradise!”

When we get to the point of paralyzing fear like the disciples did as their boat was swamping, we wake Jesus up. (Is this why we call the service before the funeral a wake?)

We almost say this with sarcasm if we are honest,

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”photo-10

Jesus does care. Jesus grew up to be like his father on earth and in heaven. Even when our Dads were sleeping, they had protected us to the best of their ability (and probably beyond). But Dad also encouraged us to grow to be the best version of ourselves. We too can be like Our Father in Heaven.

Each of us is called and encouraged to care and love like Our Father.

Sometimes the encouragement comes through the violent storms of our lives.

This is the faith Jesus asks of us.

“Quiet! Be still!”

We indeed have the authority to calm the storms like Jesus does, just as he was, the calm in every storm.

We are God’s sons and daughters. We can call God, “Father,” “Abba,” “Daddy”.

But Jesus asks each of us, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

Hopefully, we will eventually answer, “Jesus, I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Before we know it, we will be walking on the stormy seas more than just a few feet as Peter did.

Jesus won’t have to grasp our hand and say, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

My father helping me to Cross over!

God loves us more than any father could or ever will.

What Good News it is to have faith that we can wake up God, Our Father, especially when we are terrified of the storms.

Happy Father’s Day to all of our Fathers…

…and to You, O Beloved God and Our Father in Heaven and on Earth…

Happy Father’s Day DAD!

Why are you terrified?

Why are you terrified?