Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 6: Year 1
“But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ He said, ‘Here I am.’ Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, ‘It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him:” (1st Samuel 3: 16 to 18).
This is what I meant when I said on Monday, the 14th of June, that “Such negligence will come back to bite him later.” Eli had sons that did not follow in Eli’s ways. In fact they blasphemed God and Eli did not correct them. We must remember Father Abraham who would slaughter his son Isaac, who was without sin, only to obey what he perceived to be the will of God. Eli was still learning what it means to be a father when he took custody of Samuel. He may have been a better father to Samuel than he was to his biological sons.
As we approach Father’s Day I pray that fathers everywhere will ponder their parental responsibilities and at least coach their young ones into their faith tradition. I believe that while we are not to go out and demand anyone to follow our Christian path, all people, and fathers in particular, should have a guiding light that leads them on a moral path. As we fathers walk our paths, we should invite, or even insist, that those for whom we are responsible accompany us as we traverse life’s expedition.
Eli, and later, even Samuel himself, will fail in their responsibility to guide their young ones in their faith paths. I hold up Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, as the model of fatherhood. We don’t have any words from Joseph. What we have is his silent obedience to the will of God. We have the example of his unconditional love for his non-biological son and his son’s mother. Love conquers all. But indeed, sometimes that love has to be tough love.
So I’m going to throw out a Happy Father’s Day in advance to all the dads of the World. Tough love is often tougher on us dads than on those we raise. Ask Abraham and ask Joseph. Real fatherhood is not about biology, it’s simply the coaching, unconditional love we have for our young ones.
For this evening and tomorrow day my friends; Shabbat Shalom.
Let us live in order that we might love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John