On September 21 in 2000, my dad Glen Burke passed away. Five years later on the same day in 2005, my brother Bob Dofflow followed my dad. Twice a year, I honor my dad and my brother on this day and on their birthdays.
I was hoping today as I read the scripture readings that something would come to mind in a unique way to honor them. I did not grow up with my brother as he was born in my mother’s first marriage. I grew up an only child with my dad and mom, but had frequent interaction with my brother, sister-in-law, nephews and nieces.
Both of them were very hard working men. They set a very good example for me as to being responsible as husbands and fathers. I cannot remember God being spoken of with them until the end of their lives. My dad and mom took the approach with me to allow me to find God and religion when I was ready. We may not have talked about the Lord, but their examples of love and service exemplified our awesome and merciful God and I believe they both did the best that they could do.
So today on the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, whom Jesus called to follow Him and who was considered to be a great sinner by the Pharisees, I remember the words of Jesus. Jesus was criticized for eating with Matthew, a tax collector, and with other sinners and He told the Pharisees … “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Today, in the Spirit of Love and Thanksgiving, I again entrust my dad and brother to the mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love you dad. I love you Bob. Amen.