Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day 2007

Last year I celebrated Father's day by preaching at St Michaels. In honor of all fathers I'm posting that homily...Happy Father's Day!!!


Luke 7:36-8:3

Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.
And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,
and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."
Parable of Two Debtors 40And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher."
"A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
"When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?"
Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."
Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
"You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.
"You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.
"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."
Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?"
And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."


I would like to congratulate in a special way all the dads that are present here today, may your day be a blessed and restful one in the company of your families. I have to confess that as a dad, I have asked myself many times: Why do we celebrate Father’s day? Why do we celebrate this day in June? I have always suspected that this holiday was created mostly so Dads do not feel left out, after all Mothers day was just a few weeks ago. You see I’m willing to bet that no Dad was ever consulted about the creation of this date. I know that if it were up to me I would celebrate this day, Super Bowl Sunday. But here we are on the third Sunday of June.
So today I would like to take some time and reflect on the Gospel reading in light of this very special day. The gospel story introduces us to two very different people, a Pharisee and a woman. Each one of them shows different attitude towards Jesus. The Pharisee looks at Jesus and sees just another man, a prophet that has come to honor his house with his presence. The woman on the other hand hears that Jesus is in town and recognizing him as God, the only one with the power to forgive her many sins goes after him and finds him and unlike the Pharisee, throws herself at his feet in gratitude and gives Jesus one of the greatest display of love and devotion ever recorded in Holy Scripture. But the question is: Why do these people react so differently to Jesus presence? Why is this difference so radical? What lesson can we get from this two people? Jesus himself is telling us today : Those who realize God’s power to forgive, those who are willing to show how sorry they are for their sins and how grateful they are for God’s unconditional forgiveness, are capable of great displays of love.
In a day like today this is a very important lesson. You see I believe that a great thing about being a dad and for that mater the great thing about having a dad is that we get a lot of opportunities to practice the incredible power of forgiveness. There is an old country song (and yes, sorry to scandalize our young congregation members but your deacon likes to listen to country music) There is an old song that says that the love of a father is a love without end, Amen. This is what the woman of the Gospel understood when she saw Jesus, this is what the Pharisee missed: A love and a willingness to forgive with no end.
So I restate my question, why do we feel it is important to celebrate days like father’s day and mother’s day? The reason is simple. We all know how much our parents have to put up from us. And we are grateful for the unconditional love they have given us throughout all of our lives.
I think the most important point to remember in a day like today is that the love and the capacity our parents have to forgive, pales completely when compared to God’s infinete capacity to love and forgiveness. After all our parents are not perfect, they are also affected by their own sins, and sometimes… many times, they are also in need of our forgiveness. But God’s love truly IS a love without end, Amen! His is a love that is willing to forgive the worst sinners among us. The only thing we have to do is turn to him and tell him how sorry we are.
We must stop treating God like the Pharisee in the gospel. God is not our equal, he is our father and as our father he to deservers our love and gratitude for everything he has given us, for our health, our community and our country.
You see one not so glamorous parts of being a dad is that if you do your job well, you become the 24 hours on call service desk for your children, every time there is a problem just call dad and he will fix it. DO we treat God like this to? Do we only call on him when there is a problem we can not handle or when there is something broken in our lives that we do not how to fix?
I believe that today is a perfect day to follow Jesus advice, today is a perfect day to recognize God for whom he really is, the only one that can truly forgive all of our sins, today it is a perfect day to tell God how sorry we are for not living up to what is expected from His children, and it is a perfect day to commit ourselves to go to our homes, schools and communities and show our gratitude to our Father in heaven with great displays of love.