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July 15, 2008

Father's DayFrgeorge

Today, as we well know is Father's Day. It is superseded by the Glorious Day of the Pentecost, which is considered the Birthday of the Christian Church. It was the 50th Day after our Lord's glorious Resurrection , that He sent down the Holy Spirit, as He had promised, and blessed the Apostles, enabling them to speak in various tongues, to spread the Christian Faith.

Father's Day coincides with the unique Day of Pentecost, and we cannot, but connect our earthly Fathers with our Heavenly Father. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, as Godman prayed often to our Heavenly Father for strength and encouragement.

When the Lord knew the end of His earthly mission, He prayed as follows: "Heavenly Father, I have glorified You on earth; I have finished the work, which You had given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me with Your own self, with the glory, which I had with You, before the world was." John 17:4-5.

I chose these two verses for the text of my homily today, because, they should constitute the prayerful wish of every conscientious Christian. Wouldn't it be an ideal state if we were able to utter the same words of our Lord, in application to our own lives, by saying: "O Father, I have glorified You on earth; I have finished the work, which You had given me to do, etc?" What a blessing it would be, if the world could give these words real content.
It wasn't only the Lord, who spoke the words I mentioned, but so many of His followers repeated them, commencing with the great Apostle to the Nations, St. Paul, who said: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished by course, I have kept the faith, and now there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will bestow upon me on that last day! And not only to me, but to all those, who love His appearing."

Christianity is a religion of achievers. It sets goals for all of us, and summons us to achieve them. Today we celebrate a holy day; not by religious designation, but by a mandate of our Country, which as we know separates Religion from the State. But, regardless of this, it calls us in a sense religiously, --- to pay a special tribute to Fathers, and to emphasize, that today, is strictly their Day!

Paternity is surely is surely a sacred state, because firstly, it focuses our attention and thoughts to our Father in Heaven, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. The Father, Who wants the best for His children, and Who expects them to emerge victorious from all of life's adversities.

By reflection and imitation, this day summons us to reflect on our fathers, whether living or deceased. Also, this day demands an accounting on the part of all fathers, as regards to the manner in which they are executing their duties and obligations as family heads. This then, is the unique time of the year for a sincere appraisal and reflection. Have we truly exercised our love, affection and devotion to our father? Have we, as fathers, on the other hand, done the very best for our children?

Have fathers mistakenly exerted every effort to provide materially for their family, while neglecting to give that, which is so important and remains as lasting value? How many children I have seen, who have had an overabundance of all things, yet they were spiritually famished, so that they reverted to other avenues, to supposedly fill the void in their hearts.

However, I believe, that true fatherhood, cannot be spiritually productive, unless it relies firstly on the true Fatherhood of God! I believe, that the world must bring God, the Father into sharper focus, and also, that fathers must in turn, bring into sharper focus the expression of their Paternal obligations.

No less, all children must crisply keep in mind, one of the great Commandments "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land, which the Lord, your God, has given you." Exodus 20:12. This respect, which is due to our parents is often so lacking, and in sequence is carried over to all phases of life's expressions, thus creating a situation, that is not only unpleasant, but truly devastating in interpersonal relationships. Also, what is worse, it is sinful.

In conclusion we say, that Father's Day is indeed another pleasant opportunity, and a unique occasion to say thanks to father. To give him a card, or a gift, as an expression of our deep love for him. Also, it is somewhat a mournful day for some, who have had the misfortune of losing their father prematurely.

But, for the dedicated Christian, Father's Day should be an opportunity for re-dedication to all those lofty ideals, which brought about miracles, and great beauty and power in peoples lives. Let us never get on the track, that hard work and ambition, and pleasures of this life should be executed at the expense of those ideals, which are lasting and eternal.

May the Good Lord my beloved, bless all the Fathers in our Parish, in our Nation and in all the world; but no less, bless all the children who know how to honor their father. Amen.

+ Fr. George Papadeas

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“Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word or our epistle.” - Thessalonians 2:15