Dad jokes. We love them and we loathe them. They make us laugh and they make us groan. But most of all, they remind us of our dads and the unique relationship we have with them.
I recall my own Dad breaking out into a litany of puns at our wedding reception for the brief spell that we invited him to hold the microphone. I still remember the two or three guffaws from those who got the jokes and thought they were the funniest thing in the world.
It was a very moving ceremony. Even the cake is in tiers.
Now, years later, as a father myself, I pride myself on the repertoire of dad jokes that I get to share with my own children. And it never gets boring. Sitting around the table after dinner, introducing them to a new wave of jokes I might have picked up that day. They may take a while but, when the penny drops, the laughter breaks out. Even our 2-year-old daughter joins in the laughter because she knows that something funny has been said.
So, today, I told my team about the importance of dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness.
Yeah. I was in a Zoom meeting when I told that joke and they didn’t laugh either. It turns out I’m not even remotely funny.
My second eldest son has even started compiling his own swag of puns and corny jokes (presumably to inflict on a generation yet to come). His current favourite is this one:
My mum told me that I can’t drive a car made of spaghetti. You should have seen her face when I drove pasta.
It cracked me up the first time he told me. Unfortunately, I was driving at the time!
Jesus spoke about God as Father. I think Jesus was guiding us to the kind of relationship we can have with God – I think of the energy, dynamism and spontaneity that is found around the dinner table of dad jokes. There is a healthy sparring at play as you test each other’s reactions, push the limits, and even surprise one another. It is certainly not static or boring. Our journey with God is meant to include play, wonder, and that sense of being totally at ease. Not that it is like this all the time, but even our healthiest human relationships have a balance of fun and seriousness.
Following Jesus as our model, we are invited to relate to God on an intimate, personal level. We are invited to encounter God in way that is dynamic and life-giving.
As Pope Francis writes in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel):
Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. [EG 8]
The Gospel offers us the chance to live life on a higher plane, but with no less intensity: “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others”… Consequently, [we] must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm… [EG 10]
Even Pope Francis likes to throw in a little humour when speaking to his family!
For those of us who have experienced the life-transforming joy of encountering God’s love, we are often perplexed as to how we might share that same joy with others around us. We long for our children, our friends, and our neighbours to come into a meaningful experience of God that becomes a lasting relationship, one that is able to sustain all of us through this journey of life.
To this challenge, Pope Francis shares a little wisdom:
Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. …They should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but “by attraction”. [EG 14]
Which brings us back to dad jokes around the dinner table. Let us open our communities as attractive places to belong, where joy is shared, where lasting relationships are formed. It is Good News that we share. It should bring a smile to the face of the receiver. Just like a good dad joke.
Why are Catholics so upbeat after church gatherings?
Because they convert Mass into energy.
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