All fatherhood takes its pattern from God our Almighty Father. Through earthly, biological fatherhood, we see a reflection of the great mystery of the love that the Father has for His children; and we also see, in events like Father’s Day, the manifestation of the love and respect we are to have for our fathers, both living and deceased.

Father’s Day has always been one of those very tricky holidays for me. It is filled with great respect and admiration for the honor that is due to “fatherhood,” but it is difficult for me to get sentimental and personal about it because my father and I had no relationship to speak of at all. It was a sad situation, but not unusual in the lives of some families.

I was very fortunate, however, that I was taught early on in grade school—those great Sisters of Saint Joseph, Third Order of Saint Francis—that the Fatherhood of God surrounds all of us; His love protects us and will never abandon us. I took this quite seriously. I figured if God was God and could do anything and He loved His Son Jesus, and I was God’s adopted son through Baptism, it stood to reason that God was my Father too. I believed it then and I believe it even more now.

I was blessed to have other father figures in my life; most notable, Saint Joseph. As father and protector of the Holy Family, he became and remains a father and protector for me to this very day. God the Father chose Joseph and gave him a special part in the Incarnation. Mary was allowed to give Jesus a body; Joseph was given the gift of authority and protection over the Child. That was a gift that only God could have given because Jesus would recognize the Father’s life in Joseph and respond to it with love and obedience. Thus, God the Father blessed all marriage and family life through the love that was shared between Mary and Joseph and the gift of the Child Jesus who was given to them. Jesus learned about human family life with a real Mother and foster father who shared the authentic life of grace personally given to him by the Eternal Father in heaven.

My respect and love for fathers, and my true good wishes, prayers and blessings, are reflected in that Divine gift of Fatherhood. It is this gift which is the example to be followed by all men who are so blessed to be fathers themselves. Men must never forget the need their children have for them to be authentic, strong, good, and holy fathers in their lives. They must be present to their children. In addition, they must never forget that the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. The bond of the Holy Family continues to be a strength and a positive witness for all fathers on this blessed Father’s Day!

Remember Dad at Sunday Mass.

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