20 Jun 2016
“For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Gal. 3:26)
In the name …
About the middle of last week I started looking at the weather forecast for today, for Father’s Day. What a smile it put on my face to see all those icons for partly cloudy skies on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and then a great big ol’ sunshine right over today. It was like God smiling down on fathers. Plus, a sunny Father’s Day means we can be outside this morning, and I do love our summer outdoor Masses, and I hope our fathers do too.
Outdoor Masses allow us to vary our musical selections. We have a great choir, a dedicated choir, they work hard to share their gift of music with us each and every week, and they take that responsibility so seriously. We really are blessed to have them. But outdoors means we can give them a deserved break and we can experiment a little. The song that will be played during Communion is Cindi Lauper singing True Colors. This song has been adopted by those affected by the mass shooting in Orlando last Sunday as a way to come together, grieve, heal and reaffirm. It’s not a traditional church hymn in any way, but its message can be gospel, can be God’s good news in a suffering world. Part of the lyrics she sings are, “I see your true colors shining through and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors are beautiful like a rainbow.”
After the murder of almost 50 people last weekend because of who they were, because of how they were judged to be different, what a healing a message is to be heard in those words of love that can give the courage again to not be afraid to let your true colours shine through. And isn’t that part of the definition of a good parent, and since today is Father’s Day, maybe I can say even a good father. A parent, a father, loves the son or daughter for who they are, no matter who they are. Often a parent will encourage a son or daughter to seek out what makes them happiest, makes them fulfilled. I don’t know this for a fact, but I would wager that some of the parents of those wounded and murdered in Orlando were not supportive of their son’s initial declarations that they were gay. They may not have known how to process it when they were first surprised by the news. But I would also wager that if they at first didn’t react with the greatest support, that eventually they learned to embrace who their child was because of love, and thus the healing power of Cindi Lauper’s song: “I see your true colors shining through and that’s why I love you.” And that’s what parents do, that’s what fathers do.
I had a chance this past week to reread parts of the book of the Prophet Habakkuk from the Old Testament. The prophet writes, “I will stand at my watchpost …I will keep watch to see what God will say to me.” (2:1) God then speaks to the prophet, but he prefaces the revelation with this statement: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets so that a runner may read it.” (2:2) Now remember this is being written over 600 years before Jesus’ birth. On tablets so that a runner may read it means big, large and bold. There is no reality of cars zooming down the highway; all they have is the image of runner passing by quickly. God tells His prophet to make the revelation abundantly clear so that no one can miss it, not even a runner rushing past.
And for today what would be that message proclaimed so large that it could not possibly be missed? Well, I hope that gets us to thinking. And we should now and again think for ourselves what we consider to be God’s, Jesus’, most obvious and compelling message to us. This is not something you can discover from what I tell you. This is your own search. This is why I’m so glad some of our members went away last weekend on retreat. We need to give Jesus time to talk to us and us to Him This is why I invite you to Bible study tomorrow evening to see if God’s word is speaking to you. I can tell you one message that spoke loud and clear to me just this past week. It comes from another prophet, Micah, who writes: “What does God require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” (6:8) But again, this speaks profoundly to me at this moment, but God has something special to say to all of us.
And I do mean “all of us.” Just as a parent shows no favourtism so God shows no favourtism. Think about Paul’s words to us this morning. Think about his audience that knows all too well the stratification of their world. Everything they saw and everything they did was dictated to them by their place in society, a place they had little chance of escaping. Then Paul tells them that “[t]here is no longer Jew or Greek … slave or free … male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. … For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Can we even begin to feel the wonder, hope and possibility this must have bred in people coming together as the earliest church? Here everyone was loved by God as equals for who they were. I think this is right up there with one of the most special things that Jesus has to say to us. And I can hear in this revelation of Christ those words of Cindi Lauper: “I see your true colors shining through and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors are beautiful like a rainbow.” That’s how Jesus loves and that’s how parents love, how fathers love. So let us find our strength and our courage to make a better world because of this, and let us offer our thanks to God for His love of us for who we are, whoever we are, and also this Father’s Day let us give our thanks for the fathers who love their children in that same selfless kind of way. For these things we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. (+)
Fr. Randy Calvo