“Listen to your father who begot you, do not despise your mother when she is old.” Proverbs 23:22
When I think of the many wise words I have learned, I think of my dad. The two sayings that I will always remember are “Nothing good happens after midnight” and “If you think you can, you can, and if you think you can’t, you’re also right.” These sayings still ring true to me and as Father’s Day comes around I think of all the great things that my father has done for me. Let us also remember and give praise to God our Father who has given us all of His love, even giving His son to us who we rejected and crucified. It is incredible to think of all the sacrifices that fathers have made for their children.
Father’s Day should be a celebrated day for all, a day of celebration for all those we have called dad, papa, pop, padre, and father. Unfortunately not all in the United States are able to celebrate this day. Some fathers have passed on and some were never there but we also have a group of fathers that have been taken away from their children. The fathers that I am talking about are the ones that have been deported, not because they are criminals, but simply because they are undocumented.
Unfortunately many young citizens will not be able to spend this Sunday with their father because he has been taken away. When I was a child I never thought of my dad being taken away and not being able to spend this day with him, but there are many kids who will not have the opportunity to spend Father’s Day with their dad or the other 364 days of the year. Try and imagine a world without fathers. Along with our mothers they are crucial in our upraising, someone there to guide us, lead us, and be a model for us. My dad taught me how to throw a baseball, ride a bike, drive a car, and was an important role model for me in my spiritual life. It is hard to believe what my life would have been without my father. My heart goes out to those who have fathers sitting in detention centers or live hundreds of miles away, away from home and not being able to be a good example of a husband and father for their children.
This week the senate is debating an immigration bill that would allow 11.2 million undocumented citizens a pathway to citizenship. This would include the fathers of many children who are American citizens by birth. The 900 page bill is expansive and it is currently in the amendment process. This is only the beginning but hopefully our nation’s leaders will be able to come to a resolution. But while our country's leaders are trying to come to a compromise, many families are suffering from daily deportations across the nation. Many children are watching their peers celebrating Father’s Day without their father. Wherever you stand on the issue of immigration I think we can all agree that it is never a good thing to separate a father from his children.
We see in the Gospel of Matthew how important the role St. Joseph played in Jesus’ early life. God intended that we have a father and mother to raise children, and to take that away from a child just because their father is undocumented is a shame and immoral. There are many things that we can do on the grassroots level to help these families, supporting them with the simple needs of life, make others aware of a pathway to citizenship, and call your senator and representative. The most important thing that we can do is love, to spread God’s love to others that they may be compassionate. To spread love to our leaders so they may come up with a compassionate immigration reform bill. So when you celebrate Father’s Day with your dad or when you give him a call, remember in your thoughts and prayers of those whose father has been taken away.