Attending the Eucharistic mass today, I noticed that there are some empty pews – which, on a normal Sunday, would have been packed. (Metaphorically, at home, perhaps the empty seats at the dining table)
Today is Father’s Day, coinciding with Holy Trinity Sunday – the first Sunday following Pentecost, dedicated to honoring the Most Blessed Holy Trinity.
Somehow, over the many years, Father’s Day has never been accorded the same “status” or popularity as the more commercialized Mother’s Day; some families even miss-out on this fatherly celebration. Doesn’t this give the impression that fathers seem to play a slightly “smaller” role within the family?
Not so long ago, we “celebrated” Mother’s Day; it’s only natural - since mothers are called to carry new life within their wombs and to give birth to this new life with much anxiety, pain and perhaps, suffering. Because of this, children generally tend to be more “attached” to mothers and hence, mothers simply get the due respect.
What about fathers? Well, the majority of them are not so ‘touchy-touchy’ (holding the baby, changing diapers, feeding the baby, do the laundry, waking up in the wee hours of the morning…), rather cold and quiet, impatient at times, busy(!), a lousy listener, “out” of the world of emotions, suppressed feelings, others “not-so-manly” stuff…therefore, not so drawn to their children…the simple consequence - having to “earn” the respect; most, if not, all the time.
Conversely, fathers themselves are more simple in nature, not so “fussy” about whether their fatherhood gets “recognized”, “remembered” or “celebrated” (at least, on the surface, that’s what they want others to think). On a deeper level, which parent does not hope to be appreciated by their own flesh and blood?
I guess all fathers simply have their own unique (or perculiar) ways of defining this relationship with their children, which gives them a different identity to mothers, in general.
For me, it was only when my father had passed on that I come to realize more strongly, by the grace of God, that he (like all other fathers) mirrors a very special part of God’s loving identity in moulding me to become what I am today. In my younger years, I remember him as being “distant” in terms of emotions, a firm disciplinarian…Mr. “don’t mess with me” kind of a person and also a traditional Mr. “you just study hard”…however, underlying all these, he remains a very peaceful and composed person…quiet and ever so often cherished the “silence” of life…so much so, we never talked much…heart-to-heart…or expressed our deeper feelings for each other more often.
On this Father’s day, I continue to thank and pray for his soul, that he continue to find eternal rest in the company of the holy saints and angels, in the eternal banquet praising God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity.
If you think that fathers can be mysterious in terms of expressing love to their children, then today being the Holy Trinity Sunday, we also come face-to-face with yet another one of the great mysteries of the Church. Yes, we have more than our fair share of mysteries as a pilgrim in this universal Catholic Christian Church!
In the Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Islam, God is believed to be One; a simple form of monotheism. However, in Christianity, this simple form of monotheism has been redefined to the Lord God being three distinct Persons in One: Father, Son and Holy Spirit…God is One, yet three divine Persons (not three Gods)…the three divine Persons are the same God, yet distinct from each other…simply mind-boggling even to some of us with faith; what more to others who do not share the faith or are interested to know the faith!
Indeed, the Holy Trinity is simply a mystery…it remains a deep mystery despite much in-depth scholastic studies. No matter how brilliantly one tries to explain it, the reality of the Holy Trinity is way, way above our mortal finite human thinking or comprehension - making it difficult for us to grasp this sublime Truth of the triune God…the Father who created us, the Son who redeemed us and the Holy Spirit who continues to sanctify us.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:18, NAB)
Today, we have much joyful reasons to celebrate this holy and most sacred of all radical divine revelations.
We are all made in God’s image and likeness and in Jesus Christ, we are called to become like God in our journey as pilgrims on earth – a community of three distinct divine persons united in love.
The person of the Father teaches us to be merciful and compassionate, ever so forgiving, the Son on obedience and humble submission to the will of Father and the Holy Spirit, that loving bond between the Father and the Son, quietly empowering us in our lives to sanctify everyone around us and to touch the restless hearts in the world with the love of God.
Today, we specially remember and honor St Joseph, the father of Jesus on earth. Not much is known about St Joseph during Jesus’ growing up years. Nevertheless, from the simply little that we know, St Joseph can be deemed a very humble and just man, quiet, honest, peace-loving, God-fearing and most of all, an obedient “protector” of the family – the most perfect model for all fathers today as we commemorate Fathers’ Day.
As Jesus is our brother, Mary our Blessed Mother, in many ways, St Joseph is a father to us all. We humbly ask St Joseph to intercede for all fathers around the world today that they will continue to be healed and touched by the love of God and grow to become faithful protectors of the family life; ultimately, simple and foolish instruments of God in His Divine plan to redeem the world.
Given this, beginning on this special day, by the power of the Holy Spirit, pray for your father and if possible, give him the most loving and sincere hug, be forgiving, reconcile...just humbly pick up that phone and simply let him hear your heart, while he still can...better still, give him the best gift of your presence...surprise him...visit him! Its never ever too late...your loving father is quietly and patiently waiting for you with open arms...