11th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dear Friends,

After honoring mothers last month, today we honor fathers. For children, it is a day to show appreciation and gratitude for their fathers and father-figures. For adults, it is a day to recall and appreciate the hard work of the fathers and husbands in their lives. We offer our dads, living or dead, on the altar of God during the Holy Mass and invoke our heavenly Father’s blessings on them.   At a time when the Fathers’ role in the family and in the society is not fully appreciated, it is good that today we can celebrate, congratulate and pray for the men who continue to reflect the Divine qualities of fatherhood as they lovingly establish, nourish and maintain their families.

Many studies have demonstrated how important a father is to his child’s development.  Children with fathers present have lower rates of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers.  The father’s presence is also a significant positive factor in children’s getting a college education, finding a satisfying job, and making a lasting marriage. Psychotherapists today are saying that both parents are vitally important to the stable development of their children; the mother’s input is invaluable in the formative pre-adolescent years but the father’s most important influence is at adolescence.  Most single mothers, who do an excellent job of parenting, say that it is very difficult to teach their children about the meaning of God the Father who seems so impersonal because their children have been abandoned by their natural fathers.  Adolescent daughters long to hear from their fathers that they are beautiful and loved.  In fact, a girl’s choice of partner and satisfaction in marriage is often directly related to the relationship she has had with her father.

While we honor our earthly fathers, we, as Christians, look up to God as our model of fatherhood. So what does the Bible say about it? Check out these verses on the fatherhood of God: Matthew 5:456:9, 32Romans 1:715:61 Corinthians 8:6.

There are many instances that speak of Jesus Christ, the Son, honoring His Father and honoring the will of His Father (e.g., John 17:1 and John 17:5).

The apostle Paul taught that to honor one’s earthly father is not only a commandment but the first commandment that, when obeyed, has a promise of things going well and living long on the earth. “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and  that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).

I invite us all to have a look at a few more Biblical references to fathers: Exodus 20:12, Sirach 3:1-16, Matthew 19:16-22, John 1:14, 2 Cor. 6:16-18, Ephesians 6: 1-4, 1 Thessalonians. 2:11 – 12.

The most important lesson that a father can inculcate in his children is to develop a loving relationship with God. All fathers can heed this advice of

St. Paul: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). When fathers take this responsibility seriously, there will be more unity, love, peace and harmony in families.

Happy Father’s Day!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal