Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
June 21, 2020
My brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I said, I want to wish Happy Father’s Day to all of our fathers.
As we remember our fathers and grandfathers today we want to recognize the importance of fatherhood — not only in our homes but in our whole society.
To be a father is a beautiful and a noble vocation. It is a calling to serve and to love and to sacrifice. And in the love that a father has for his wife and his children, we see the love that God our Father has for us.
That is one of the beautiful realities of our faith — that in the divine design, our releationships as men and women, our relationships in our families, are meant to reflect the image of God and his love for us.
God loves each one of us as every father loves his own sons and daughters. And in the Gospel today, Jesus tells us how much God our Father loves us.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Jesus wants us to know today that we are always living in the presence of our Father who cares for us. God does not forget us — ever! He is involved in our lives, he knows even the smallest details. Every hair on our head is numbered!
This is the truth that Jesus came to reveal to the world — the truth about God, the truth about ourselves, our humanity. Our great dignity and destiny as sons and daughters of God.
But as Jesus tells us today, and as we know, people do not always want to hear the truth.
This is what the prophet Jeremiah is experiencing in the first reading that we heard today.
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
‘Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.’
My brothers and sisters, Jesus has entrusted the great truth about God and humanity to his Church, and each one of us has responsibility for this truth. We are called to be his witnesses in the world, to be missionary disciples.
And the first way we witness is in our own lives. We need to live our faith in our personal lives — we need to show love and treat other people with care and respect for their dignity.
We also need to have that same passion, that same zeal that the prophet had — to share these great truths of our faith with our neighbors. We need to keep working always to reform our society in the light of the Gospel and the great values of human dignity and the destiny of the human person as a child of God.
Our liturgy today is telling us that we will encounter criticism even persecution. Just as Jesus did, just as the prophets like Jeremiah did.
But Jesus tells us to — he says it three times today in the Gospel: “Fear not! … Do not be afraid!” We need to live our faith with confidence and courage — in every aspect of our life and our participation in society. And we should not be worried or afraid about what people will say. What’s important is what God thinks, what God wants.
If we follow Jesus, if we live for Jesus — he will help us and he will guide us. We heard those great words from Jeremiah:
The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
Our Father holds this world and all of our lives in his loving hand. He cares for every one of us and for our smallest needs. Every soul matters to God, that every life is sacred to him.
This past Friday, Pope Francis declare Venerable the Servant of God, Sister Gloria Maria Elizondo, religious sister of the Congregation of the Missionary Catechists of the Poor in Monterrey, Mexico.
I’m sharing with you especially because her family and my family have always been very close because we are related as a family.
Sister Gloria dedicated her life to the service of others, especially the poor, first as a professional woman and later as a religious sister. One of her favorite sayings was to refer to God as “Our Good God”. God is, for sure, Our Good God and no matter what happens in our lives! God is here. He is with us.
We have a Father who loves us, a Father who cares for us — even to the point of counting every hair on our head! Our Father holds this world and all of our lives in his loving hand.
So, this week, let us reflect on the beautiful truths that God is our Father and that every life is sacred to him.
Let us reflect on the opportunities we have to share these beautiful truths in our homes and in our society.
And today, let us pray for our fathers. May St. Joseph intercede for them and guide them to be a great witness to the love of God, who is our Father in heaven.
And may our Blessed Mother Mary intercede also to strengthen the role of fatherhood and the family in our society. And may she help all of us to grow as God’s children.