In my years in the priesthood, I myself wonder why priests like me are called “fathers”. In fact, Jesus himself said, “You shall not call anyone “Father”; only God is your Father.” (cf. Mt. 23, 9). Not until I read the readings for today especially in Sirach where it says, “The Lord honors a father above his children and confirms a mother’s right above her children.” (cf. Sirach 3: 2)
As the priest fulfills the privileged role of a “father” in a way that he leads God’s children safe and sound to “Our Father in heaven,” to too every father or mother is given such worthy role to mirror God’s fatherhood to his children.
In the feast of the Most Holy Family, may I invite you then to give the profoundest reverence to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the Holy Instruments of the Lord in spreading His love, forgiveness, and salvation. But this is also the time to realize how profoundly sacred our families are.
Unfortunately, so many issues have threatened that sanctity – abortion, contraception, separation of parents because of poverty and other things, live-in marriages, extramarital relationships, same-sex marriages – and a host of other problems which demean the very heart that binds family members and threatens the growth of the children. That is why the Lord’s command still remains unperturbed, “Honor your father and your mother.” (Ex. 20, 12)
Let we link all families to God’s eternal word and the sanctify of our very own families. Give joy to every member; let us support our parents in their old age; let love abound and remove any stain of sin and selfishness; let every family journey toward heaven, where God is all in all and we are His children. Let Jesus, Mary, and Joseph show us the way, amen!