Sunday reflection by Very Reverend Stephen E. Salocks, Rector of Saint John's Seminary - June 21, 2020
“Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” (Mt 10:32-33)
On this Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the prayer of the Church is that we might “always revere and love” God’s holy name and “set firm on the foundation” of our heavenly Father’s love, we will know his guidance (Collect for Mass). In the Gospel, Jesus three times tells disciples not to be afraid and reassures us that living out our lives of discipleship, we have nothing to fear before the God who has proven his complete and unconditional love and care for us. Reminding disciples in every age of their worth before God, Jesus encourages us all to be fearless in our witness to him and to the truth of the Gospel.
By happy coincidence, this year, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time is also Father’s Day. As we hear our Lord promise to acknowledge us before his Father in heaven, we are once again made aware of the call to be faithful and fearless disciples in today’s world. Being a Catholic Christian, acknowledging Christ and living his precepts has never been without its challenges. Today more than ever, with cultural pressures to adapt to society and, at times, to advocate the injustice which society advocates, we must never lose sight of Jesus and our goal to attain ultimate peace with our Father in heaven.
Today, we are especially mindful of those who have been called to the vocation of fatherhood. Fathers, we can never underestimate the impact that you and your example have on your children, especially regarding faith and morals. Multiple studies have shown the importance and positive results of a father’s example when he leads the family in prayer and attends weekly Mass. In an era with so many negative influences bombarding our children, we pray for and encourage fathers more than ever to live the example of Christ in the ‘domestic church,’ and to provide their children with solid faith-filled role models.
I would also be remiss this Father’s Day if I did not take a moment and say Thank You to all of our priests. Please take a moment to thank a priest who has made a difference in your life. There are many holy men across the region who have helped countless men and women grow closer to God. At Saint John’s Seminary, we are most grateful for all of our alumni who are spiritual fathers to countless individuals through their ministry as parish priests, chaplains, and educators.