Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 21, 2020 – Happy Father’s Day

I.  Bless Fathers & All Who Show A Father’s Love!  Faithful, trustworthy, teacher, example, leader, protector are some words used to describe a dad. “My father gave me the best gifts that any child could ever have wished for: he truly loved me, he taught me and more importantly he believed in me” (anonymous). Following the example of many fathers in the Scriptures—fathers, bless your children often (before they go to bed, to college, to war, to the altar). Happy Father’s Day to all those men who nurture and mentor children, and share their faith with their children.

II.  Part Time or Full Time Faith? “Do not be a ‘part-time’ Christian, at certain moments, in certain circumstances, in certain choices. Be Christian at all times! The truth of Christ, that the Holy Spirit teaches us and gives us, always and forever involves our daily lives. Let us invoke the Spirit more often, to guide us on the path of Christ disciples.” Pope Francis

III. Saints John Fisher and Thomas More were martyred by their former patron and friend, King Henry VIII of England, after refusing to recognize his claim to spiritual authority over the English Church. Although they loved their king and their lives, Saints John Fisher and Thomas More loved truth more. We celebrate their feasts on Monday, June 22. 

    John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester, England and was a scholar as well. He was also an advisor to the king. But on the issue of the oath, he said “no.” Fisher was nominated by the Pope to be a cardinal. Henry VIII replied that if they sent a red hat, John Fisher wouldn’t have a head to put it on. He was beheaded June 22, 1535.

    Thomas More was a barrister and chancellor of England. His story was recounted in the play and movie, “A Man for All Seasons.” He was prayerful, scholarly, and wise. He was brilliant and simple in that he could spot the moral issue at the heart of any complicated controversy. His last words, July 6, 1535, were, “I die the king’s good servant but God’s first.”

    Both were men of power. Power could be as intoxicating and addictive then as it is now. Yet, their allegiance to God, the Church, and moral truth came first even at the expense of their mortal lives.

IV.  The Nativity of John the Baptizer! John exemplifies the Christian life as one who proclaims the Gospel message of healing and repentance while he points out Christ to others and shows them the way to become united with God. John announced repentance or re-orientation of life to learn, take to heart, and live the words, ways, and attitudes of Jesus.

      At Baptism, we became heralds. How might we attract people to allow God into their lives and to expand their hearts in active compassion and care for those on the fringes of our society? Our words, deeds, and attitudes make Jesus visible to invite people to repent or re-orient their lives and follow Christ the King. Every prophet had to endure a cost for their faithfulness in speaking on behalf of God. In today’s secular society/culture, we too must endure a cost. What are the challenges, the cost, and the benefits of speaking love to hate, hope to despair, and truth to corruption and power?

     I invite you to celebrate Eucharist on Friday, June 24th, 12:05pm, which is also the birthday of your former shepherd at Saint Stephen Cathedral (1995–2013), Fr. John Richard Vaughan.

V.  Happy Half Feast Day to St. Stephen!The feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr, is December 26th, the day after we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Our patron saint, Stephen, was stoned to death because of his relentless preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ, and thus became the first martyr of our Church. For the past several years, we have celebrated a half feast day party with ice cream!  We cannot gather this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, but I encourage you to share some ice cream on Friday, June 26, six months after Saint Stephen’s birth into heaven! Saint Stephen, assist us in following your courage and zeal!

VI.  Congratulations to Deacon Corey D. Bruns!  Because Corey spent his pastoral year at our Cathedral, and has revisited us for several Christmases and Holy Weeks, we consider him a “son” of our parish. After a considerable COVID-19 delay, Corey will be ordained a “transitional” deacon this Saturday, June 20 at 10:00am at the Cathedral of Saint Stephen. This ordination Mass and ritual will be live streamed for your active participation. Furthermore, Deacon Corey has been invited to minister as a deacon (which includes preaching) at our Cathedral at all our weekend Masses at 5:00pm, June 27 and June 28 at 8:00am & 11:00am. We promise our support and prayers to Deacon Corey.