To Be Christian To One Another – Fr. Anthony Williams

Fr. Anthony Williams’ Homily June 29, 2020

“Today our country celebrates what is know as Father’s Day and we had Mother’s Day in May and I recall years ago that I was giving a blessing to Mothers at the end of Mass and I asked them to stand and several of the fathers stood and I asked them to sit back down that their time was coming in June, so they smiled at they gently sat back down.  At the end of Mass I’ll share a blessing from the Old Testament for Fathers who will be standing at that time.  Sort of we stand with Joseph, fathers do who have families to take care of in a very special unique ministry, so we acknowledge you on this day and sometimes credit is not given where credit is due, but know that in the prayers of so many for fathers who are with us and for those who have left and joined we hope, the Kingdom of Heaven all fathers are in our prayer today, but Holy Mother Church has cautioned me not to focus specifically on Father’s Day, but to focus on the Good News of salvation which we have heard proclaimed.  How do we interpret the scriptures today in our lives in light of what’s happening to us, with us, around us, dynamics in many respects beyond our control.  Certainly the scriptures point out as it does in the beginning of the Gospel, ‘Fear no once except the one who can destroy both body and soul.’  I’m reminded once again as I recalled in the past at least at one homily here that one of the great tennis players especially Wimbledon, Roger Federer, made the statement one day, ‘I fear no one.  I respect everyone.’  There’s a sense of gentleness in that kind of respect that’s shared, but certainly there is not trembling or fear directed or flowing from anyone in the world, but the kind of fear that our Lord speaks about concerns the divine who can destroy both body and soul.  This is what our Lord is sharing with the disciples, the twelve who are going to be sent out.  Fear no one in the proclamation of the Kingdom and in your ministry.  Is that the kind of fear that we have been able with fortitude a gift of the Holy Spirit encourage one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that we have been able to amass and surround ourselves and our families with as we defend the Kingdom before society as we speak up on behalf of the Kingdom of God the Father and the Holy Spirit?  ‘Do not be afraid’ Pope St. John Paul said so many, many times and we know what he came through in the camps, Poland and also when an attempt was made on his life and also Paul VI.  It happens.  People are afraid and want to destroy that which they fear and they did the same with the Lord on the cross, but that didn’t stop him.  He rose from the dead manifesting the full power of the divinity and because of that faith reality we walk through the world and we fear nothing except God.  Of course our Lord didn’t say it was going to be easy.  Christians have suffered in this world have been martyred in this world in many many cruel ways, but they stayed in their stance in defending the Kingdom in keeping the faith and doing what they can to show kindness and gentleness even with their captors and murderers.  Our Lord in teaching the twelve is setting up the stage in which they will go through this world and there’s only one mission: proclaim the Kingdom of God and the mercy and salvation that has been won by the son.  As we hear in Paul’s writing about sin and transgressions and just as much they used the archetype that sin came into the world through one person, Adam and Eve of course, and so mercy and forgiveness comes into the world through one person, the perfect person, the perfect human and the perfect God-man, Jesus Christ, and he is the only one who can redeem us from the sins of Adam and Eve the first parents.  So we say in a sense, ‘Oh happy fault that he came’ that the weakness of humanity became the occasion for God in a greater way to express and extend his love for us and mercy in the person of his only begotten son.

A few weeks ago, the famous John 3:16, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will have everlasting life’ and so that is what it means to acknowledge the son before our Lord to others that we meet in this world and just as we do so, our Lord tells us in the Gospel, ‘He will remember you before his Father in the Kingdom of Heaven’ and all it takes is belief, belief that he is who he says he is, the one who did what he said he will do and that is lay down his life for those apostles.

Today we look to the sacred scriptures to grant us the fortitude and the courage to continue to walk in this world as believers and not allow the fear of COVID-19 to distract us.  Perhaps with the onset and advent of the COVID-19 we can better find ways to be Christian to one another, to be gentle, to be kind to ask the Lord’s forgiveness? (To better use which is always done here this is a confession parish, basically everyone goes to confession, I think that’s a blessing for your community and thanks to Msgr. Tank for encouraging and instilling and sharing and allowing people to realize how wonderful God’s mercy and forgiveness is in the midst of shortcomings.)  That’s why he came, to save us, forgive us, and to die for us and this is what then we take back home.  This morning there was a lot said about the domestic church which is the smallest unit of the church which are in the homes and what is the homes of mothers, fathers and children.  What is done in the home flows out of the faith and then that’s brought into this assembly for communal worship, so the strength of this Church is based up and incumbent upon the strength of the family at home, the family that prays together, works together, lives together of course, makes a place for God in the home and sometimes a Liturgical way, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a candle, the sign of the cross, holy water, or an icon and to add to that, the Stational churches in Rome, there are 33 of them, these are the churches that grew up in the homes of a small group of Christians.  They brought a few of them together to break bread and wine in the name of the Lord and many of these Stational churches, the owners became martyrs and they died.  What the holy mother Church did was over the house and the ruins and remains of these house churches, they erected a church that could seat 500, 600, 1,000 people.  That’s why they’re called Stational churches.  This was the origin of these small community churches that now is recognized as a Stational church and so we thank the Lord for the homes of those Christians that kept the faith alive that taught it to their children, their grandchildren, they were so happy to come together and to see one another and to offer prayer and to hear the word of God even when they were sought after by their persecutors and that’s how these little churches began like in your homes.  Our prayer today on what we celebrate as Father’s Day that the home, the place of the father and the mother, the children will always be protected by God and that the faith that burns in your home will always stay alive by the love and grace and mercy of our Lord that’s poured down upon us which we receive in this sacred celebration.  May God bless all of you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.”