“... and call no one your father on earth,
for you have one Father- the one in Heaven."
Dear Family in Christ,
When I was ordained last Spring, there were many things I was looking forward to about being a priest; offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, hearing Confessions, anointing the sick, preaching homilies, witnessing weddings, and simply being part of a parish family, name a few. To this day, I consider these to be the greatest privileges of my life.
There have been, however, surprises- things I didn’t think about much before that have turned out to be far more beautiful than I had anticipated. One such surprise has been the profound privilege of no longer being called ‘Daniel’ or ‘Corso’, but ‘Father’. It is perhaps the most ordinary part of my life; it happens every day, more times than I can count, from people I have known forever and those who I have never met before, young and old, Catholics and non-Catholics, and everyone in between.
If I had my pick of anything in the world, I can’t think of a single title I would rather be called. As a priest, to be called Father is first and foremost a reminder of my responsibility to the souls entrusted to my care. Long before it is an endearing, honourable title, anyone who calls me ‘Father’ is reminding me that they have a claim on me- on my time, my attention, my energy, my gifts, and most of all, my love. It’s a reminder to me that despite all the ways in which I fall short, I have been set apart to be a living, breathing, reminder and image of our Father’s Heart. Like I said, I can’t think of a greater honour.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus forbids us to call anyone on earth our Father. As Catholics, it’s important we understand this passage and why it is that we call our priests ‘Father’. For a great explanation of this Sunday’s Gospel, click here. For the history of how and why we started calling priests ‘Father, click here.
God love you,
PS… A little fatherly advice- don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour this Saturday night.