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Happy Father’s Day

刊登日期: 2015.06.20
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

 

 

 In speaking of fatherhood, I am not excluding motherhood. In fact, one cannot be a father without a mother and children. That is implied in the word itself. It is strange to speak about single mothers and fathers. Only in very sad circumstances like the death of a spouse, would they “naturally” become single parents. Others choose to become single by breaking the natural bond and the responsibility they have to their children. Children just do not come naturally without both a father and a mother! DAH! 

When speaking of parenthood, the Church is always talking about the complementary roles of both fathers and mothers. The husband and wife bring into the family unique gifts of themselves to form a union from which children experience this self-giving nature of love. 

But this is not unique to the Catholic Church. Every culture, especially our Chinese culture, has maintained this notion of marriage and parenting until the last 70 or so years. What we are experiencing in our society, both East and West, is really very new and, I am very convinced, is not yet over. We seem to be in a cloud of confusion over what is a human “right” and what is truly “good.” We seem to think that if one can give a convincingly sounding argument then one must be right (as in correct) and, therefore, must have the “right” (as in something owed me) to do. 

However, this is exactly what parents DO NOT do. They do not think of what is owed them. They spend themselves because they love their children. It is for that we celebrate Father’s and Mother’s Day in the first place. 

Young people, be careful of the messages you hear in the world today. Try to see through the falsehood, indeed lies, pumped through the media, particularly the comedic portrayal of parents. In the United States, most TV shows and movies are not really worth watching. I have not been to movies except for very rare occasions. We are relegated to watching the action movies or those with spectacular computer generated graphics for special effects. I cannot even remember when was the last time I recommended a movie to my parishioners because of its positive message on Christian virtues. And this poverty in our entertainment has a real influence in society. 

A second influence is the way society put pressure on working parents to have higher productivity in the job at the expense of their role as first educators of their children. Family meals are eaten in hurry. Uncertainty and unreliability become the routine. The home as an environment of stability and security is no longer. Children are made to share the burden when they see their parents loaded down with the problems of the day. 

I can still remember when I was growing up that every Sunday is set aside to spend with my family. When I asked my dad for his permission to became Catholic, he only maintained that I was NOT excused from family events to go to Church. Luckily, it was in 1970 when Saturday evening Mass was already available. The Sunday trips to the New Territories or Lantau Island were not interrupted. Some Sundays I could go to early Mass before going out to Dim Sum. 

What I am saying here is that parents have a much greater burden to bear in the face of the world that is bent on trading profit over the welfare of the families. 

Young people, be very supportive of your parents. They have a tough balancing act to still be good parents to you. Help them to fulfill their vocation. Pray for them, daily. 

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