I hope I’m not sharing a story with you that you have already heard, but I know my Grandpa, you know him as Bill Koch, loves to tell the story about his visit down to Louisiana. A medical van picked him up at his nursing home in Kalida and brought him to Baton Rouge Louisiana. He saw me become a priest at my ordination, and he also got to see me say my first mass at my home parish. My pastor asked him a question, I’m not sure if he heard it or not, but his response summed up how good of a time he had. He responded by saying, “perfect!” I know he had a great time, ask him about it. I’m sure he would love to tell you about it! I also think it is great that I’m here on Father’s Day, and I know it is an honor for my Grandfather to have me come here and say mass.
Another nice coincidence is that today’s Mass is Trinity Sunday and of course on Trinity Sunday we celebrate the great mystery that is the three persons and one God. The great mystery that even though God is Father Son and Holy Spirit, he is still somehow one God. I don’t believe we can fully understand who God is or even begin to explain why God is three persons in one God. However, we can get somewhat of an idea of who God might be, by analogies.
Today’s being Father’s Day can give us some insight into the mystery of the Godhead, the Trinity. While I wasn’t alive to see it, I know my Grandpa sacrificed a lot and did a lot to provide for his family. I don’t want to spend the entire homily bragging about my Grandpa, but I know he raised six excellent children who I know are good Fathers and Mothers!
The love fathers have for their children and grandchildren is a small sign a small taste of the love that God our Heavenly Father has for us. Our Father in heaven has a deep love for us, and he is willing to give us everything so that we may be united with him and his son in heaven for all eternity. Our Father in heaven was ready to give up his only son so that we can have eternal life, and I believe this to is a sign of the love that exists between Father and the Son, a love that is so powerful that the Spirit comes out of that love.
I hope I don’t lose you with this, but St. Augustine tried to use love to explain what the Trinity is and why it is three persons in One God. He explains that the Father is the loving one, just like a Father loves his son. The son is the one who is loved, and the Spirit is the love shared between the two. All of this mysteriously is one God, just as the love shared between the three is one. Again, I hope I’m not losing you in all of this, but the Trinity is beyond any of our understanding and to try to explain it isn’t easy at all. However, no matter if you follow what I’m saying or not, I hope you can take one thing from this. That God is love and as Catholics and those who are disciples of Jesus are called to imitate the love he has for us.
Jesus lived his entire life as one of love and as sacrificial love. He showed us great love on the cross, and through his death and resurrection, we are brought to eternal life. Truly all three persons of the Trinity show that same sacrificial love that we are called to imitate in our own lives. Even the Spirit is poured out for our sake.
How though do we imitate this love in our lives? How do we make our lives a life of sacrifice? We may not be called to make the same sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, but we can still make small sacrifices in daily for the sake of our brothers and sisters. Being Father’s Day, I think we can look at some of the sacrifices our earthly fathers make to help provide for their families and give their children a better life as an example of the love we are called to have. Where I’m assigned as a priest in Louisiana, many fathers work at chemical plants. As far as I know, it includes a good income, but it takes sacrifice to be in it. You work crazy hours; I’ve heard some plant workers have to be up at 2 am to make it work for 4 am or something similar. It takes time away from family, from healthy sleep, and so many other things. Despite their crazy schedule, they still make time for their children’s sporting events to go to Church, to help their kids with homework and so many other things.
The example of the plant workers in Louisiana or anywhere is just one example; all Fathers are examples of the Love God has for us when they make sacrifices for their family to give them a better life and show them, love.
I know my Grandpa had a great time, and even this is an excellent sign of love that God has for us. I’m grateful to God for making this work out for my Grandpa and allowing him to make the trip to Louisiana. It is a joy to be here in Ohio to see him again. I hope the love all Fathers show to their children, and the love Grandfathers show to their grandchildren can be a sign for us of the Fathers love for us!