Homilies by Fr. Alan Phillip

12th Sunday (A) Father's Day. The Job of Protecting
Recent Homilies:
ߦ   12th Sunday (A) Father's Day. The Job of Protecting
ߦ   12th Sunday (A) Father's Day. The Job of Protecting
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      Today is Father’s Day.  As one child observed, “Father’s Day is just like Mother’s day, only you don’t spend as much.”


      This morning I’d like to share with you two stories, and one quote. The First story is from a minister, Rev. Jerry Steen,


     “At the first church I pastored, I had the job of mixing feed to supplement my income.  For a period of about two weeks, each day that I came home from work, my two boys, ages 2 and 3, would look at me, smile, and would say, ‘Boy, dad, you sure are dusty!’  I would reply, ‘Yes, I sure am dusty.’  Then I would get cleaned up.


     I didn’t think too much of this until one day I was washing my car and saw my oldest son doing something very strange.  He was picking up the gravel and stones that were in our drive and rubbing them into his pants.  I asked him, ‘What are you doing?’  He replied, ‘I want to be dusty like you, dad.’


     I realized that is a child would look up to his father for being dusty and want to copy his father, a child could look up to his father and follow him for anything.  What are you passing on to your son?”


     A second story is about a Spanish father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father rented a billboard along the highway and put up the words, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of city fountain at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.”  On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers. (Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, p. 13, adapted.) 


    Thirdly, a quote.  The late Fr. Theodore Hesburgh said,  “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”  


      Loving includes protecting.  Yes, protecting…  One of the jobs of a father is to protect.  He is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of his wife and children.  He works to provide a home and make sure that home is safe and protected.


     But protecting reaches further.  Five years ago Pope Francis issued an encyclical titled Laudato Si, Italian for, “Praised be.”  In it he calls for major efforts to protect our mother Earth.  Francis urgently calls on the entire world's population to act, lest we leave to coming generations a planet of "debris, desolation and filth."


     In our gospel today, Jesus tells us that we are worth more than many sparrows.  If sparrows are important to God, and we are even more important, than how important is our home to God, our home the Earth where sparrows, and all other plants, animals, and all of us live.  If the most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother, then all of us are called to be fatherly, loving our mother, the Earth, -- and protecting it.


     Love is defined as wishing another well and showing it in our actions.  That means:

          Don’t litter.

               Clean up after yourself.

                    Don’t pollute the water or air.

                         Share the blessings of the earth.


Caring for the earth is a profound way of loving one another.


     May this weekend be a beautiful time for all fathers.   And may all of us Paco’s feel forgiven and loved by our heavenly Father.






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