A Father's Day reflection - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Hiep Vu and his wife, Tawny Thanh, with children at the day care center of the Virgen del Rosario Institute in Punata, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Photo by Nile Sprague

As we celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, June 21, 2020, we pause to think of the importance of a loving father — his guiding hand, his wisdom, his help.

God the Father gave up his only son, Jesus Christ, so that we might be saved through him. In doing so, God provides an example of the very vocation of fatherhood.

If we read a little beyond today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 10:26-33, the subsequent verses warn, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Clearly, verse 35 is a difficult, challenging statement to comprehend, yet in today’s complex world, we see this kind of division happening in Catholic families everywhere. The call of the Gospel is challenging — and so is the vocation of fatherhood.

Fatherhood is a vocation, a call from God. Fathers are called to serve as teachers, models, guides, authority figures, and companions to children. But fathers are real and imperfect people who, for many different reasons, make mistakes. However, they often offer committed love over the years, which in turn helps form them in holiness.

Studies show that the personal example of a father teaches children how to live and cope with life and how to practice faith. A father’s example is more than just words.

Today, in a special way, let us be grateful for:

  • Our fathers — by birth or adoption — who love us and support us through life
  • Our single parents (mom or dad), who love us and walk with us through life
  • Our church leaders, who take on the role of guiding us through life
  • And God our Father, who will always teach justly and grant us boundless mercy.

And if, for any reason, your father is not present in your life or not as perfect as you wish, let us pray for our fathers and that all might experience the love of a good father.

One final image from scripture related to fatherhood is the famous story of the Prodigal Son. In this story from Luke (15:11-32), we read that “While [the son] was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” Let us reflect on all fathers who wait in vigil for their children — waiting and watching out with hearts full of compassion.

Happy Father’s Day!

Scripture reflection for Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, June 21, 2020 (12th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Hiep Vu
Hiep Vu provides computer training at Fe y Alegria Virgen del Rosario Technical School in Punata, Bolivia, assists children with after-school activities in Rosario, and teaches computer repair at San Antonio Prison in Cochabamba.