Ashtray Tie or Some Sport Thing?
What is it about Father’s Day (or is that Fathers’ Day?) that makes gift giving so different than when we buy for Mother’s Day? A report I heard this week said that children can easily give a gift of just about anything to their Mom, but find angst in the of midst trying to figure out just one thing meaningful to give to their Dad. I am the exception. Each year, we had to think fast and hard how to recover from gift giving for this weekend when my Dad’s birthday was usually about ten days later (June 29). As a kid, we could only rotate the sequence so often between the seven of us before things looked suspicious: “ok this time YOU give the ashtray and I’ll get him another tie (red with blue instead of blue with red) and Kathaleen you give some sport thing.” Then as we got older, we just surrender into group-buying him some tool or item he needed to restore his antique car. Whichever way, we knew that in ten more days we would have to go through it again.
The truth is we have been given such a tremendous opportunity to remember what it really is all about, that we celebrate the fathers and father figures in our lives who have made us who we are. God chose to Incarnate Himself within the familial setting of a mother and a foster-father, Mary and Joseph. Listen to the words of Pope Francis in the way we can look at the role of fathers: “The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis...In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.“ He goes on saying: “Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity...God sets the father in the family so that by the gifts of his masculinity he can be ‘close to his wife and share everything, joy and sorrow, hope and hardship. And to be close to his children as they grow – when they play and when they work, when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they stray and when they get back on the right path. To be a father who is always present.” Pray that every child might have a father or father-figure who is always present in their life. Pray, too, that all might have a Father-Priest always in their life to share the love of the Father God.
Pax, The Son of Jerry Bline
(Please pray for me this week while I’m away on my canonical retreat, that I may embrace the Father’s heart)