Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Father’s Day 2020


The Prophet Jeremiah had a strong sense of God’s presence with him. He uses the image of God as a dread warrior. Some scripture translations speak of a mighty or fearsome warrior. I’m sure that it was that confidence about God that allowed Jeremiah to speak uncomfortable truths to those who needed to hear them.

He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was with him, that the words that came from the Prophet’s mouth were rooted in sound doctrine from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Jesus also had that kind of confidence. We hear occasionally about his teaching with authority. That authority is rooted in his knowledge of those same scriptures and his life experience.

Thus, he uses images and language that connect him to his listeners. Today we hear him remind them not to live in fear.

Our Judeo-Christian history is filled with illustrations of women and men who refused to live in fear. Think of the mother in the account of the seven brothers in the Second Book of Maccabees. She and her sons went confidently to their deaths, out of a conviction about their faith and traditions.

Think of the uncountable Christian martyrs who have gone to their deaths without fear. Consider the countless number of brave women and men who speak the truth about injustices they see or experience in our world.

We so often think that Canada is so enlightened and pure. Yet, even in this country there are situations that call for fearlessness. That is made stronger when it is rooted in our faith convictions.

What does that fearlessness or confidence look like for us? Few of us, if any, will be invited to give up our lives because of our faith, though it does happen in our world right now, far more than should be happening.

But, perhaps, our fearlessness has to be utilized in something simpler than a threat on our life. It might come from a righteous anger at what we see happening in this nation: the circumstances of the First Nations, victims of subtle or not so subtle racism or sexism, or corrupt systems. Is there anywhere that I can use my own faith and fearlessness?

Today is Father’s Day. I wrote a post for Mother’s Day last month. Pretty well everything I said about celebrating our living or deceased mothers in the era of COVID-19 could be said of our celebration of our fathers this year, and, quite possibly in years to come.

No video conference or chat through a window quite allows us to truly show the affection we want to on this day.  And even those young fathers with children still dependent upon them will have to exercise restraint as they celebrate this day. I have also written several posts on Father’s Day and on Saint Joseph.

There are obvious connections between Father’s Day and our reflection on the impact of Saint Joseph. His ways may have been quiet, but we are certain that he was a wonderful stepfather to Jesus.

Let’s take time today to be grateful for our fathers, whether living or deceased, whether birth fathers or stepfathers.

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Peter Bisson SJ
    Posted at 08:36h, 21 June Reply

    Thank you Philip!

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