Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
On this Father’s Day, we should think about these words from our gospel: "If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. " Harsh words from our Lord. The Fourth Commandment says, "Honor your father and mother." Furthermore, in our epistle (1 John 3: 13-18), the apostle John tells us: “We know that we have passed from death to life, in which we love the brothers. He who does not love his brother remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life dwelling in him.” How do we understand this contrast?
First, the first part of our gospel speaks of God as the father of a family. "A man made a great supper, and invited many. And at supper he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, Come, for everything is already prepared. And they all began to excuse themselves. first one said to him, I have bought a farm, and I need to go see it; I beg you to excuse me. And the other said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them; I beg you to excuse me. And the other said: I have just finished to marry, and therefore I cannot go. And when the servant returned, he made these things known to his master. Then the father of the family was angry ... "
Why was the father angry? Because his big dinner was an important event and it was an honor to be invited. The guests' excuses insulted the father for their lack of respect.
Therefore, he said to his servant, “Go quickly through the squares and streets of the city, and bring the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind here. And the servant said, Lord, it has been done as you commanded, and there is still room. And the lord said to the servant, Go down the roads and the fences, and compel them to enter, that my house may be full. Because I tell you that none of those men who were invited will enjoy my dinner. "
The great supper is a symbol of the meeting of the faithful with Christ in heaven. The Father and his Son prepared this dinner for everyone. On the night that He was delivered to the cross, our Lord instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, a meal with His body and blood in, under, and with the bread and wine, for the communion of believers in anticipation of their meeting in glory. Jesus that night told the disciples that He was going to his Father to prepare space for them. Then on the cross He paid the price for the sins of all men to earn the promise of eternal life for all. In the parable the servant searched the streets for the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind, and there was still room at the table. Then, the Lord sent him to look for others because His house would be full.
But those who reject the invitation will lose their opportunity. The invitation is by grace, that is, we do not receive it for any of our works. However, the grace period is not forever. The question for us is, what is our first priority? The Lord tells us, seek first the kingdom of God, and all other things will be added to us. God is the source of all good things, and eternal life above all.
The family is a blessing from God. To be a father, for children to have a father, is a blessing from God. Also work, home, our friends are all blessings from God. However, we must seek eternal life first, or we will not achieve eternal life. Although God has not called all believers to leave their businesses, their families, their friends, we must be prepared to put aside all for Christ, even our own lives, because the world hates us.
Furthermore, God is the source of the love of family. He instituted marriage at creation as one man, one woman for life. This is a blessing for men and women, because God said in the beginning that man should not be alone and made a companion for him. It is also a blessing for children to have a mother and a father. The male figure is important in the formation of children, because, as in the parable, the father of the family is the figure of God. The father has the responsibility to protect and care for his wife and children, also to teach his children in the 10 Commandments, the Creed and the Lord's Prayer as the Small Catechism says. Our relationship with the man of the house is key to the formation of our attitude toward authority for all our lives.
But, our world is distorted by sin. The consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve were the breakdown of the harmony between them and God, and nature. Every man since Adam has had to work hard for his family, and the land does not produce crops easily, because of weeds, lack of rain, too much rain, lack of sun, too much sun etc. Every woman since Eva has given birth in pain. And by their disobedience Adam and Eve broke the harmony between themselves. Now, many times there are fights between husbands and wives, and between their children. There is divorce, there is abandonment of the family, there is abortion. Many times there is no man in the house, not only by divorce, but also for the death of the man, and the mother has full responsibility for her children.
God's love is the remedy for all problems. In truth, apart from the love of God, it is not worth keeping the marriage because there are always difficulties and trials. But, when the love of Christ fills our hearts, because we remain in his Word and sacraments, we can love others and recognize the family as a blessing.
God loved us first and that is why we can love our parents and brothers. Not by our own strength, but with the help of the Holy Spirit who is active in the Word and the sacraments. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot respond to the invitation of the great supper. The Spirit gives us the gift of faith and perfects love in our hearts and in our families.
May the peace that passes all understanding be with you. Amen.
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