Bro. Errol Salcedo, CJM
As we celebrate today the feast of the Holy Family, let us reflect on the importance of this feast in relation to our families and the various families around the world. However, what makes the holy family, holy? And, what are we going to do to make our family holy? These are the questions that make us stop and reflect on the significance of the feast in our lives in particular and in the Church in general - our bigger family. It is timely and liturgically fit, that after the Nativity of Jesus, the Church emphasizes the significance of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
When we go back to the readings today, we find that they are helpful materials to identify the role and significance of each family member inside the house. According to the book of Sirach, in order to live a family pleasing to God, parents should love their children, and children should honor and care for their parents (Sir. 3:2-6). It is an important reminder for all of us especially to the young ones to respect their parents. Nowadays, because of information overload from the media, the young ones think that they know everything and so fail to listen to their parents, but Sirach invites us to honor and listen to the wisdom of the parents who are gifts of God to us. On the other hand, the book also reminds the parents to honor their children by showing them good manners and right attitude.
In the Second Reading (Col. 3:12-17), St. Paul reminds us to be compassionate, forgiving, gentle, and patient to one another because our God himself is COMPASSIONATE, FORGIVING, GENTLE and PATIENT to all of us. St. John Eudes also adds that “the Christian life is a continuation of the life of Christ here on earth”. In doing so, we become the image and likeness of Jesus Christ to others. How nice it is when we feel the presence of God in the person or the person feels the presence of God in us because of our compassion, gentleness and patience to them. Paul added, let the peace of Christ control our hearts, be grateful of the Lord, and whatever we do, in word or in deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an invitation to cling always to God as our strength and guide, not only in times of trials and difficulties but even in times of joy and gladness. Let us always listen to the Word/s of God and be grateful of His blessings. It is God who makes the family well-bonded and connected to each other. Thus, when a family member receives a blessing, the blessing goes to the entire family and the entire family celebrates the goodness of God.
And the Gospel for today (Lk. 2:41-52), at first glance, we might have a wrong impression of Jesus, “bakit siya sumasagot sa kanyang Ina?” (Why is he answering back to his mother?) After three days of losing and finding him, he was sitting in the midst of the teachers listening and asking questions and all who heard him were amazed. Mary, his mother asked, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Jesus answered, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Fathers’ house?” In Filipino culture, it feels like an insult to the parents, but in the Jewish culture, it is part of the child’s process to know and tell the truth especially about their faith. They let the child speak and ask questions. Mary and Joseph did not understand what he was saying but they never reprimanded the child. He was lost in the eyes of his parents but he found the great treasure of life. At a young age, the Niňo Hesus (Child Jesus) recognizes his allegiance to God the Father. Mary did not understand, but she never said anything that will hurt the child, instead she kept everything in her heart. It is an attitude that we have also to learn from the blessed mother. Instead of judging the child too quickly, she reflects on the reason why the child did it to them. For sure, there is good intention behind.
I remember the story of a boy who lost his self-esteem because of the judgements of his classmates, teachers, and parents. Indeed, he was a spoiled brat and bully. However, deep inside, he is a good child and has potential to grow in wisdom. One day, he found Jesus along the way, a person who understood and accepted him wholeheartedly. The boy was filled with gladness and joy and from then on, he followed and served Jesus. He became compassionate, forgiving, and humble person before God and before others. It is because like the blessed Mother, God is patient and has forgiven the child.