Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to honor our fathers and show our gratitude for all the ways they love us. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to honor priests, our spiritual fathers, and show our gratitude for the way they serve their spiritual children with joy.
This week on Go Ask Your Father™ Msgr. Stuart Swetland played a clip of a homily by Fr. Keith Romke, of the Diocese of Rockford. The homily illustrated how much priests have missed their parishioners, and how the return of the faithful to Mass and the Eucharist is like the experience of a father welcoming his children back home.
Fr. Romke said in his homily, “My favorite emotion is joy. And I love feeling that overwhelming sense of happiness, and delight, and security, and it’s-all-goodness, right? All of that rolled into one. I love thinking back to moments in my life where the joy was so tangible that my face wasn’t big enough to contain my smile, while at the same time tears rolled down my cheeks.”
“Well this morning, I want to tell you about one such moment in my life where those tears were absolutely flowing and that smile was larger than ever.”
But he explained that even though there were plenty of people around for this moment of incredible joy, no one could actually see his smile.
“Do you know why that smile couldn’t be seen?” he asked. “It’s because I had a mask on! Because one of the truly most joyful moments of my entire life came just last Sunday. When the church was filled (as it could be within the parameters and directions of health concerns) the joy was palpable. It was truly tangible.”
Fr. Romke told his parishioners that as each person entered the church he had to hold back his tears of joy. And he held back those tears throughout the Mass, until it was time to distribute Communion.
“And the only reason why I stopped holding back tears at that point was because I couldn’t hold them back any longer,” he said. “The tears flowed from my eyes each and every time I held Jesus Christ himself, truly present in the Eucharist, up in the air and said ‘The Body of Christ,’ and then placed him lovingly into the hands of someone who was longing to enter into communion with him. At that moment, it was beautiful. The joy was palpable.”