The Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit United in Love
Shortly before we were ordained to the priesthood, the vice rector and moral theology instructor had us out on a peaceful May night where we relaxed and he gave us some advice. It was not so much as a teacher at that point as more of an older brother giving some advice to the younger brother.
One of the things that he said that has always stayed with me is that there were two kinds of priests we could be. We could be the “station manager” or the “entrepreneur.” The former is the priest who comes in, offers Mass, does “his job” but doesn’t go much beyond that. He doesn’t really help the parish to grow much, and essentially “punches the clock.” The later is the priest who works hard in a parish to come up with new ideas with staff, to help move a parish forward, and works with others pooling their gifts to leave the parish in a better way then he came into it.
Admittedly like all people, I have good days and days where I make plenty of mistakes. But I strive to “roll up my sleeves” and work with others, and try to help a parish grow. I try to learn from my mistakes and grow as a person too. In my first pastorate, our parish went through a building project, the closing of a daycare, personnel changes, and a merger. Needless to say there were a lot of challenges, but in my first four years there I’m so proud of what a core group of people were able to do for Saint Maxmilian Kolbe in Delano. Now four years into my pastorate at Saint Joseph’s, I am so blessed to be serving here at our parish. I’m surrounded by such great people who have a teamwork mentality. As I said last week on Pentecost, some parishes are so tough to find people to do anything other than come to Mass. But at Saint Joe’s, we have so many people who do so much. The staff also really care about one another and the parish, and it’s such an honor to be in a parish where there is great support and love for the common mission to help people on their journey to God.
Today we also celebrate Father’s Day, and I have to tell you, so much of how I learned to live out my vocation came from my dad, who along with my mom is a true hero to me through how they have both lived their life.
All my life, I remember my dad as someone who worked hard. He worked in maintenance his whole life keeping multiple schools running. But what struck me was how hard he worked at his vocation too. Whether he was working days or nights, he was always there when he came home. He’d work hard to maintain the home, and we’d spend hours on end together playing on the Atari, electric football, or going up to the park to throw the ball around or go sledding in the winter. But he also taught me as I grew up how to do what we heard last week in the Gospel, where Jesus says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jesus summarizes all of the commandments to love of God and neighbor, and my dad has done both throughout his life. He helped to teach me the faith by praying with me, taking me to Mass, and explaining the faith to me. But he also put the faith in action through how hard he has worked for our family and caring for his own parents and in-laws as they aged, and being involved in our parish.
Our parents often show us so many examples of love, but also, along with the Trinity who does it in a perfect way, gives us the challenge to be the entrepreneur for our faith. To go that extra mile for God and one another.
So as we celebrate both the Trinity and our fathers this weekend, may we also be inspired to go the “extra mile” by taking our faith seriously and praying daily and living it out through how we work hard at our vocations and strive to glorify God in all we do. When I think of my dad, I think of so many simple actions that he has done to inspire me to become a better person from his work, to his prayer life and patience, and dedication to the family each and every day. My guess is many of you have similar stories of your dads too – so by all means celebrate with them and look back at the memories, but also be inspired to live as they have shown us by putting the faith into action as not a punch clock Christian, but as a true entrepreneur of the faith, looking for new ways to have it grow in you and for new ways to help others on their journey.
Have a blessed week and a happy Father’s Day to our amazing dads!
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