Loving Father (2019)
Fr. Martin Fuchs´s sermon on 3rd March 2019, Prague, Czechia
Peter Rosegger, a famous Austrian writer, spoke about his childhood:
His father was very strict. He knew well how to handle with punishment in upbringing. The children were therefore often afraid of him.
One day Peter had committed a prank for which he rightly had to expect a proper beating. In his fear he was looking for a hiding place where he could hide himself from the wrath of his father. There was the spacious clock box in the old grandfather‘s clock in the living room! – He quickly fled inside, before his father could catch him. He felt guilty but safe here! Now he could wait in silence what happened next. Through the keyhole he saw his father was very angry.
Then he heard wenches being sent away to search for the little culprit because he could not be found anywhere. But they all came back unsuccessfully. There was no trace of little Peter. They were wondering about his disappearance but it remained mystery. Could poor Peter fall into one of the deep gorges? Didn´t he harm himself in the agonizing fear of the punishment?
His father was left alone in the living-room with worry and depression. Peter could watch him well from the clock box through the keyhole! Then he saw something he never thought of before! He saw how his father, who was otherwise so hard and strict, put his hands over his face and wept for his little Peter.
The tears of his father touched him so much that he could stay no longer in his hiding place. He could feel his heart beating wildly.
He quickly opened the door. The tears ran over his face and suddenly he was in his father’s arms. Fear and punishment, everything was forgotten over the blissful knowledge: “I have a father who loves me!“
Is it not the same with us? For our sins we have to expect punishment. But then we see our Savior’s sufferings. Looking at these sufferings, it makes us forget about God’s wrath and punishment.
The poor souls in purgatory suffer in pure love. We should try to bear all sufferings to do penance and to save souls for God’s glory.
Let us use the time of Lent to offer all sufferings for these goals! Let us think of the fact that we have the Father in Heaven who loves us!
May the history of the Chosen people help us to closer come to perfect love.
The time of Lent lasts 40 days. It is a time of graces.
But also the historical events in the Old Testament with the number of 40 were connected with a lot of graces. Let’s have a look at these historical events:
1) The first time we read about this number it was in the story of the Deluge. Only Noe, his sons, and their women were saved.
Many were the sins people had accumulated. They were unteachable and hardened. Even Noe’s sermon could not change them. So God purified the earth by a palpable punishment, by the Deluge.
In the same way God cleans the earth today: by floods, famine, and war. If His love can no longer achieve anything by words, it can sometimes change things only by a palpable punishment. All disasters (tsunami, earthquakes, forest fires, plagues) are such signs of love of Our Lord. “God does not want the death of the sinner, but his conversion.“
Even in our lives tangible punishments are not missing like illnesses, unemployment, mental sufferings and other crosses. The motive is always God’s love.
2) Israel was lamenting for the death of its father Jacob for 40 days. Let us use the coming Lent for lamenting for the death of Our Savior: “Lord, may Your blood and Your pain not be in vain!“ Let us pray the Way of the Cross, let us meditate the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross!
3) Moses fasted for 40 days before he went up onto the mountain Sinai to get the Ten Commandments.
So we must break with all earthly things to penetrate deeper into the law of Our Lord. The famous holy penitents and souls of atonement received extraordinary enlightenments from God by fasting and abstinence.
4) Elias was walking for 40 days until he reached Mount Horeb, by virtue of the food and drink which the angel gave him.
The heavenly bread, the Holy Communion, must strengthen us again and again during Lent and during our life journey.
5) The journey of the Israelite people lasted 40 years until they were finally liberated from the bondage of Egypt. The journey led through the Red Sea – a picture of Christ’s blood – further through the desert – a picture for the Christian life, which is a life of repentance and of the cross – to the Promised Land – a picture of our journey to Heaven.
6) The scouts engaged in exploration were there for 40 days before the Chosen people could enter the Holy Land.
And likewise, this Lent we should study the Holy Scripture and other spiritual books to explore Heaven, our final goal.
7) The Chosen people had to endure the yoke of the Philistines until it was liberated by the fight between David and Goliath. Again, it is a picture of our life, of our fight with the devil. Just when we might not suspect it, the devil is near to us with his temptations.
“The devil“, says saint Peter, “goeth about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.“ (I Peter 5:8). But we can defeat the devil by repentance.
8) Forty days is about the tithe for all gifts and benefits, God gives us over the year.
The tithe is a kind of donation to God, to thank God! Let us use the coming Lent in this sense!
Let us summarize these thoughts briefly:
Let us accept the palpable sufferings, let us lament for the Lord’s death and let us meditate upon His love; let us get rid of everything that binds us to this earth!
Let us make a firm resolution to go to the Holy Communion as often as we can. Let us be aware that we can achieve liberation from the bondage of Satan particularly by penance! Let us study Heaven with its joys; let us remember that we have to fight against the devil for our whole life! And let us make our tithing by imposed and voluntary penances!