Today we celebrate Father’s Day. When families get together and honor an integral part of the family. Along with Mother’s Day it is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States; just look at the restaurants, and the parties in the neighborhood. And it goes without saying that this is good; families celebrating family.
But, as great as these days are they are very secular. Except for the faithful that always attend Sunday services most families don’t give consideration to the faith aspect of the celebration. In fact, even the religious based holidays such as Christmas, Memorial Day and yes Thanksgiving have been stripped of their faith foundations by most people in the United States, even Catholics.
In the southern European countries of Portugal, Italy and Spain Father’s Day is celebrated on the Solemnity of St. Joseph. A quick review online shows that seven other countries do this as well. In these countries there is still a religious awareness to this celebration. I bring this up as an example of the beauty of social life that revolves around the liturgical year.
I know that bringing this up to you sitting here is the very definition of preaching to choir. Our Sunday Vespers group have been living our lives the last eight years in and through this valuable gift. Each Sunday we celebrate the fact that time belongs to God. We are not blindly traveling a path through chaos. Weekly we come together to dive deeply into God’s economy of salvation by calling to mind and heart different aspects; and while doing so lift up our hearts and minds by our collective voices in praise to our creator. This gives us the peace of mind that, come what may, we are not alone; we are loved. We have each other and we have our Creator. Together we celebrate each of our lives and we celebrate the revealed aspects of our Triune God. Our group takes strength from those of our extended family, the saints, and we reflect on our lives through their witness. Each of us, I am sure, has come to appreciate the joy of the flavor that the liturgical year gives us as we live our lives.
I offer this reflection to you not just to savor what we have; but to challenge us to show others what life lived within the liturgical year means to us. In two weeks we celebrate the ninth anniversary of this prayer group. For nine years we have enjoyed the gift of the liturgical year and have allowed it to impact our lives. Let’s go into our parish and show those unknowing and/or marginal Catholic brothers and sisters just what variety and intensity Holy Mother Church offers her family.