I heard a funny quote about being a Dad the other day: “Good Dads forgive your mistakes; Great Dads help you hide them from your mother”. Seriously, though, my favorite quote about fatherhood comes from Clarence B. Kelland: “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it”. Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and grandfathers out there. We salute all of our Dads, living and deceased, for serving their time with patience and love.

Have you ever felt small and insignificant? Have you ever felt like nothing you do makes a difference? Well, I would like to tell you a little story. In 1812, three-year-old Louis Braille, son of a French harness maker, was blinded in an accident in his father’s workshop. He was eager to learn though, and when he was old enough, his family enrolled him in a special school for the blind in Paris. While there he got an idea and worked diligently to invent a tactile reading and writing system. Finally, after three years and at the age of fifteen, he perfected a system of raised dots to facilitate “reading” for the blind. This special alphabet, which is now accepted worldwide, bears his name: Braille. His invention truly changed the future of millions of blind people across the world by opening up the written word to them. I like this story because it underscores a couple of things that we just heard in today’s Gospel. First of all, it illustrates that some of man’s greatest accomplishments began as tiny ideas. Young Louis Braille was looking for a better way to read and his ideas revolutionized the world of the blind. We see the correlation in Mark’s discussion of the Kingdom of God. God sows the tiniest seed, the mustard seed. He nurtures it and watches it grow into a massive tree.

Another correlation between today’s Gospel and the story of Louis Braille is that the people who begin great movements or do great things are often ordinary themselves. God can take someone who may seem insignificant and use them to create something huge. Think about the disciples. They were not sophisticated men or scholars. But the seeds of our Church and our faith were in their hands. Think about the great saints such as Mother Teresa. We can even point to modern-day examples like Mother Angelica, who built her idea of mass communication into the EWTN empire, reaching millions every day.

The practical message for all of us today is that no one is too small or insignificant to make a difference. Since this is Father’s Day, we also recognize the importance of the role of the parent. The seeds of the faith are sown by the mother and the father. Our children must be tended as a garden is tended for them to grow. This growth, demonstrated by today’s parable can be thought of on many levels. As individuals, we must be careful about WHAT we sow. Even small things can have monumental effects. Consider that a small bad habit might progressively worsen and seriously affect our lives and our families. Conversely, a tiny good deed could reap immense benefits over time. As parents, we must sow good seeds and care for them relentlessly. And finally, we must exercise patience. In time, the fruits of our labor will be revealed.