By Fr Francis Anthony
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Theme: Christ dwells and gives us life
Today is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ but in my reflection, I am facing a dilemma. It is also the Father’s Day and I opted because of the readings to focus on the role of fathers.
In the First Reading from Genesis, we have this mysterious person, Melchizedek, a priest from Salem. We do not know anything about this particular priest, the only mention is made of him by name and an event here. Melchizedek, the word itself, the name signifies King of Justice and he is coming from Salem. He is coming from a town called peace.
And this particular priest meets Abraham who was just returning after a war where he has destroyed all the kings and saved his cousin, Lot, from that. That is the background if you read this chapter fully. And what is very interesting and he sees Abraham coming in and says, ‘Blessed be Abraham by God most high, creator of heaven and earth.‘ And today, I would like to remove the word ‘Abraham‘ being father’s name. Put the name of your own fathers:-
Blessed be Anthony (I’ll put my father’s name) by God most high, creator of heaven and earth.
So in the First Reading, it is so appropriate that on this day we are celebrating Father’s Day and our wish is that the blessing of God and it does not just say, ‘Bless Mr Anthony’. No. And it goes:-
And blessed by God for having handing over your enemies to you.
Yes, all the fathers, young or old, they have experienced the hardships, the difficulties to support and to bring their families, and here, you might not have gone out to ware and destroyed the enemies but you, as fathers, for the love of your family have sacrificed so much for their well-being. And the text here so beautiful:-
And blessed be God for handing over your enemies, for handing over your hardships and allowing me to help you in your struggle.
The Second Reading we are more familiar because of the context of The Last Supper. But it is very interesting Saint Paul writing to the Corinthians, he makes explicit reference just before your passion, yes, Jesus Christ is going to die and this is the last event that takes place and He will leave the upper room and He goes to the garden and He will be caught and persecuted and we know the passion story.
Just before that great event, Jesus is showing His great love for his people where He changes the bread and the wine to His Body and Blood and gives himself as food. How our fathers have sacrificed. They have suffered, they know they are struggling but the struggle does not take prominence because of their love for us. Yes, this is very important for us to realize. It is very beautiful for us after Mass to go and say, ‘Wish you Happy Father’s Day’ and all.
Look at the reality. To play the role of fathers, they have to make so much sacrifices. It is for us. Just like Jesus, He knew He is going to die but that did not stop Him from giving His body and blood as our food and our life.
In the Gospel text, again it goes further to see the role of fathers. And it is so beautiful. Jesus was out in the wilderness preaching and a lot of people came and it was getting late. The disciples came with Him, human planning, ‘Send the people away. We are in a far out place that they can be able to go and buy food and find a lodging for the night.‘
What does Jesus say? ‘You do something yourself.‘
Yes, when the fathers are in the struggle to see to the need of the family, we might go and pray and praise God and remove these hardships but Jesus is just saying:-
You do something. Just don’t offer it up to God. I am with you. I have given you all my help.
For the Catholic parents, you have been baptized, you have received the sacraments.
For the Non-Catholic fathers, you have been helped by me in many ways.
Yes, let us use our strength that God has given us and for us all the sacraments that we received and we come back to the Eucharist, the body and blood. And that is our strength. We just don’t surrender and lift up to God. No, God is with me, helping me and I with that help, with my little ability, I am not perfect, I am not strong, I am not powerful but with the little ability I have, I am going to praise God by doing what I should do and not to surrender.
So my dear friends, on this Father’s Day, let us always remember the hardships, the struggle that the Fathers have to face, some are very very clear, some not but there is nobody here living a fairy tale story after marriage, they live happily ever after. They face a reality through their sickness, through their disability, through their financial problems, through the other social problems that they meet, their focus is on the well-being of the people of his family.
Let us thank God for having given us Fathers who are helping us.
Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-