I read an article about the history of severe weather broadcasts in our country. The article pointed out that, up until the 1950s, the US government forbade radio announcers from using the word “tornado” over the airwaves. There was a fear that just the mention of the word “tornado” would set off widespread panic and even hysteria among the people.
On one afternoon, however, in March of 1952, as severe weather was brewing in Oklahoma City, a radio broadcaster named Harry Volkman broke protocol and used the word “tornado” for the very first time on US airwaves. Shortly afterward, the storm system unleashed one of the most deadly tornado outbreaks in our country’s history. Many people credit Harry Volkman with saving lives. It is claimed that, because he used the word “tornado” in his broadcast, more people took the storm threat seriously and sought shelter.
It’s easy to draw a parallel to the storms that threaten our spiritual well-being today. There are many who are trying to suppress certain aspects of the faith. Some say we shouldn’t use words such as “sin” or “evil.” Others say we need to keep the message always light and upbeat. Yet increasingly more people testify that what draws them to God is most often the pain, fears, voids, darkness, and doubt that they experience within them and around them.
Jesus spoke to the storms of the sea. He called out demons. It’s good for us to acknowledge and address all of those things that most threaten us so that we better can find shelter in the Father’s care.
And speaking of a father’s care, as we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend I want to share with you an invitation from Bishop Cozzens and our Archdiocesan Office of Evangelization. They are asking men from parishes all over the Archdiocese to participate in a Catholic Watchmen ministry. It’s a ministry for men “coming together as brothers to strengthen each other and holding one another accountable to protect, provide and lead in their family and church.”
I offer thanks to all of our fathers and for all that you do to protect and provide for your families materially and spiritually. I also encourage you to see me if you are interested in helping to launch a Catholic Watchmen movement here at Nativity of Mary.
We keep our eyes on the skies and heed the warnings. The storms will rage around us but we can always find strength and refuge in our Father’s house.