My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
As I was looking over some of the letters that I have written for Father’s Day, I came across one of my Little John Everett’s stories and I would like to share it with you once again.
We were eating breakfast at one of the local tacorias when little John Everett climbed up into his father’s lap and rested in his father’s arms. His mother looked up and said, “Want to come to Mommy?” “No,” he responded, “I want to hold Daddy.” There was a certain comfort just resting in his father’s arms. He knew that he was in a safe place.
I do not think that the Hoy Family ever ventured out to a local restaurant to have breakfast, but I could be wrong! But I am pretty sure that they sat down together around the table, one probably built by St. Joseph himself, to eat. I can easily see the young Jesus crawling up into the lap of St. Joseph, his earthly father, and saying “I want to hold you.” There is a certain sense of security when one is held by his father, no matter how old one is. I can see St. Joseph wrapping his arms around little Jesus and saying ‘I love you.” I can easily imagine St. Joseph putting a piece of bread up to little Jesus’ mouth as if to encourage him to take a bite. For sure I can say that St. Joseph never tempted Jesus to eat a piece of bacon as little John Everett’s father has done! Or maybe it was a glass of goat’s milk or water that St. Joseph held up to Jesus’ lips as to quench his thirst. The little things that a father does for his child frequently go unnoticed, but these little things are so important.
Little John Everett carefully lined up a long row of dominoes. Once they were in place, the temptation to kick them with his foot was just too much. With one hard kick he scattered them all over the room. There was one problem. He hurt his toe in the process and limped over to his father with tears flowing down his checks. His father picked him up and kissed his toe and the pain went away. I wish all pain in this life was that easy to get rid of!
As I watch little John Everett interact with his father, I find myself wondering about the relationship that little Jesus had with St. Joseph. Do you think that little Jesus would run to his father crying if he got hurt playing and wanted his father to kiss his booboo? I bet he did. Do you think that little Jesus ever crawled into his father’s lap just because he wanted to feel the warmth of being held tightly? The love between a father and his son is special. The father’s love conveys a sense of security. When St. Joseph would hug little Jesus, he was assuring him that everything was o.k.
As would any father, Joseph was concerned that Jesus would learn a profession so he could support himself later in life. From a very early time, I am sure that Jesus hung around the carpenter shop in which his father was working. What son is there who does not at one time or another want to do what his father does? When little Jesus picked up a hammer for the first time and missed the nail and hit his finger, I am sure that he ran up to Joseph to kiss it to make it feel better. I can see Joseph taking a saw and teaching little Jesus how to cut a board at the right length or at the right angle. As Joseph worked with his hands in order to make sure that Mary and Jesus had what they needed to make their lives comfortable, he wanted to make sure that he taught Jesus what he needed to know so that when the time came he would be able to do the same. I often think that after the death of Joseph, Jesus used the skills that his father taught him to support Mary and himself.
Joseph loved Jesus, and Jesus reciprocated by “loving him more.” I imagine that Jesus would at times reflect on the love that Joseph had for him and all the little things that Joseph did for him. As a man, Jesus would pass on what he learned from Joseph – how to love another.
As I watch little John Everett and his father grow in their loving relationship, I see the bond that they are establishing growing stronger. I know that his father wants to teach him what he will need to survive in this crazy world of ours, how to share with another the love that he has in his heart. Each hug, each kiss tightens the love bond between little John Everett and his father. I hope his father never thinks that little John Everett will outgrow his need for a loving hug, for he never will!
I challenge you to take a moment of reflect on your own relationship with your father. Recall those special moments that you spent with him. Recall the many sacrifices that he made to make your life a little more comfortable. Recall how he was always there for you no matter what. Do you remember the first time that he took you to a movie and maybe bought you a box of popcorn? Do you remember the many trips that he made to the beach with you? Do you remember his patience when he taught you how to swim or to drive a car or to hammer a nail? Do you remember him cooking hot dogs and hamburgers in the back yard or churning the ice cream freezer (now I am showing my age!) or teaching you how to make and fly a kite? Remember all the little things that he did for you.
It seems that a father’s love knows no limits. So, on this Father Day recall all that your father has taught you, all the love that he has shown you, and then reach out and hug your father and say to him “I love your more.” Even if you father is deceased, as mine is, say a prayer for him, tell him thanks and tell him “I love you.”
Happy Fathers’ Day.