Today as we celebrate the joyous occasion of Father’s Day, let us remember that we should pray for our priests and fathers out there as they are figures of great love, reassurance and compassion, just as Jesus was to his disciples. Despite the storms in our lives, Jesus asks us to have faith and to always keep trusting in him.
The gospel speaks to us about the storms in our lives that make us cower in fear and unable to do anything because we are terrified. Jesus has the power to calm the angry sea and wind where he says to his disciples, “Do you not yet have faith?” (Mark 4:35-41) and kept them safe. The boat that the disciples are in represents our lives, when things get difficult and we are covered by the darkness of the storm, we fail to see Jesus and sometimes sink greater into despair.
Sometimes, all we have to do is to reach out to Jesus as he is there, waiting for us to call out to him in our time of need. John Newton, who was the composer of the beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace” never did believe in God but he encountered Jesus under similar circumstances as Jesus’ disciples did. The article states ,“Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.” Despite continuing with the slave trade, John treated the slaves humanely after experiencing the grace of God and was subsequently ordained by the Catholic church.
John Newton’s story is about having faith in Jesus and to keep trusting even when the odds are against us. It is easier said than done but it can be achieved by turning to Jesus instead of sin in time of great peril and anguish that we might encounter in our lives.
I was interested to read about Pope Francis’s encyclical letter,” “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. It touches on the destruction of the world caused by climate change and to always protect God’s creation which I can resonate with. In the words of Pope Francis, he says,“In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast. In union with all creatures, we journey through this land seeking God, for “if the world has a beginning and if it has been created, we must enquire who gave it this beginning, and who was its Creator”.Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.”
By trusting in Jesus, we should always strive to make the right choices in praying about them and not taking our planet earth or God’s creation for granted. We shy away from making choices to stand up for what we believe in because we give into fear. We have to pray for courage and faith to do our part in caring more for God’s creation as they are not mere commodities but precious valuable life-forms. I hope that Catholics read Pope Francis’s letter and do their part to be the change that they want to see today.
At the beginning of the week, I came across a Father’s Day letter that was penned by American musician Pete Wentz that was touching and moving as I remembered that my parents had penned a similar letter when I was in primary school to show their love for me when I was a young kid. Our fathers are just as important as our mothers and they should not be forgotten.
Despite his busy touring schedule as a musician and artist, Pete tells his two young children,“Let your kindness radiate and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Be yourself when it is not popular to be. Love your friends not in spite of their flaws but because of them.” Adding on he says, “Never let the world take away your creativity and divergent thinking. Be the colour of lighting, be wild, and always laugh a lot. Never forget who you are.”
Though we encounter the storms in our lives, we must always find that invincible summer in the midst of the cold winter and to overcome all adversaries by talking about it with our loved ones and to pray about it with Jesus. Like the changing seasons, though our lives may change , Jesus remains constant and are with us through those summers and winters. To put it simply,”The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” (Psalm 23).
God Bless! and may Jesus bless all fathers (including our priests) with patience and wisdom as they continue to nurture their families and the church in a loving and compassionate way. Happy Father’s Day!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong