June 17, 2018
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.”
This weekend I am preaching on the topic of fatherhood. God created men to protect, provide, and lead. And God has entrusted to most men the special task of protecting, providing for, and leading a wife and children. To offer his strength to serve his wife and children. Every man wants to be strong—not only physical strength, but also to know “I have what it takes” no matter what comes, “I am a man”.
It can be easy to see this working on a natural level, for example, if an intruder came into the house at night, what would you do? Would you go confront the intruder, and if needed defend your family from him? Or, would you rather make your wife do that? This isn’t just a “cultural stereotype” to say that the man should be the one to protect his family from physical danger, it is part of his nature. Women have a protecting spirit too, but it looks different. She would run to the children’s room, comfort them, hide them or try to get them to safety. She would defend herself and the children if she had to, but not in the same aggressor way. Woman was not created to be an aggressor. Man was. We were created to attack things, to go on the offensive.
When boys grow up, they love attacking things. This is why they play cops and robbers; why they fight with swords; and why they like to whack things to kingdom come—baseballs, golf balls, etc. But as boys grow up, they need to learn to focus their strength in order to serve, and this is especially true when it comes to fatherhood.
We easily recognize on the natural level that a man must be ready and willing to protect, provide, and lead, but a man was also created to do this on the supernatural level as well. In our world today, there are so many things that attack us, that attack your families and children, and try to lead them away from God and His Church. And it is your duty as a father to protect them from these evils, to provide for their spiritual growth, and lead them in holiness. Fathers need to be willing to go on the offensive, to confront the evils coming against their families, and teach their children to face and resist falsehood and evil.
As the head of his household, a man has the responsibility of knowing the faith, teaching the faith, and to defend his family from things that might lead them away from the faith.
Often times, women are the primary spiritual leaders in their home. And it is very good for her to be nurturing the faith of her children, but the husband must be actively supporting. If a father is passive, or worse, if he doesn’t support his wife in teaching the faith, then no matter what she teaches the children, they will almost never stay in the faith as adults. The father’s role cannot be underestimated. Men, you need to actively assist your wives in teaching your children the faith, you need to be the first in encouraging and demanding your family get to Mass every Sunday, and pray every day. If you are simply among the children as those “herded” by your wife to church and only pray when she initiates it, then your children will learn from your example that the faith really isn’t that important.
A father cannot help but lead his family, lead his children, in one direction or another. Either by his active leading, or his passive non-leading, the children will learn from you and follow you.
Every married man wants to be a good husband and father, but this takes serious effort. As men we need to help one another to step up and meet the challenge.
I invite all men to a special talk on Fatherhood I will be giving this Thursday night, June 21st, at 7pm in the church. I hope to see you there.
God bless you,
Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke