It is a sacred habitat where young souls are being nourished with core values that would bind each other as one fold of God.
After weeks of waiting, the infant Jesus is laid down in the manger, the lowliest resting place for a King. On this day God reveals to the whole world the huge family he has in his kingdom. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus bear the symbol to a home enveloped by love, humility, simplicity, and understanding as that to the Father’s house.
A family is a venue for a holistic Christian formation. It is a sacred habitat where young souls are being nourished with core values that would bind each other as one fold of God. Holiness of the family cannot be measured by its sole strict observance of rules and regulations in attaining perfection. It is more of the humility of the heart to always perceive each one as essential part of the whole. A heart that is molded by love and becomes embodiment of God’s boundless mercy and compassion.
The scriptural readings today give us profound insights that brings us to cherish the essence of a family which, unfortunately now, is threatened by indifference somehow the results of the precipitation of too much secularization. There has been conflicting and overlapping claims between parents and children pertaining disciplinary limits and rights. This problem has been lingering in many family relationships that need to be reconciled in order to prevent further erosion of the core values of a Christian family.
In the first reading, the book of Sirac stipulated important obligations of the children to their parents. Respect is highly emphasized as Moses commanded it. Children are asked to understand their parents and give them material support most especially in their advancing age. Rapturous heart with sensitivity, patience and unconditional love should be given gratuitously to the parents especially those who are struggling physically brought by the natural process of ageing.
The gospel of Luke is giving us deeper grasps to achieving holiness in the family. The evangelist reiterates mutual respect yet subordinated by God-centered doctrines. This is exactly what the Good News is trying to make us understand. When Jesus was lost in the temple, it was also the time that he realized his mission to do the will of the Father. Joseph and Mary were worried of him, yet after they heard Jesus, especially Mary who got anxious of his Son’s utterance, respected the vocation of their son. They were granted the grace to realize that Jesus has his own life to live and greater obligations to fulfill. As parents, they need to support Him, respect him, and most of all lead him to the life of holiness in order to bring his mission into a successful completion. The silence of Mary is the loudest expression of her honor and respect to Jesus, her son. Jesus was lost yet he found himself busy with the affairs of the heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary also found their respective places in their family. It was a profound realization to the three of them that deepened their understanding of what is like to be a Holy Family for God.
In this generation, there are lots of painful realities. I heard a lot of stories about parents imposing blind obedience from their children. Parents are insisting superiority over their children that ultimately take away the rights and freedom of their offspring. Unfortunately, some would even result to many forms of abuses. Thus there are children who run away from home due to this misunderstood imposition of respect which is enslaving and one-sided. To leave home is a painstaking decision for anybody and yet it has to be done in order to escape from the reality of pain in the family that isn’t supposed to be experienced by children because the family should be their strongest foundation of love and Christian values. A family should have been a place of refuge where we could experience unconditional acceptance and affirmation.
There is no such as perfect family but everyone can make an effort to keep the bond together. Countless broken families are now among us regardless of race, economic status, and religion. This is just a manifestation of the diminishing values of family ties. However this does not mean that building a holy home is not attainable. Saint Paul in the second reading anticipated the possible chaos within thus he encouraged everyone to bear one another’s faults and shortcomings. Forgiveness is the best weapon to combat division at home. Everyone should possess a generous heart that does not count failures, rather it supports the drooping member with the life-giving spirit of the Trinity that would always bind a family to journey into the path to holiness. Every home should have been ruled by charity as our Father John Eudes perpetually reminding us.
It is God the Father who in his Fatherly love shares the gift of “His House” where every family would finds its genuine purpose. All we have now is anticipation of our union with him in his big Holy Family in heaven. It is only by his grace that we may be able to embody the virtues of family life in the spirit of generosity, love, simplicity, humility and deeper understanding as children of a one holy Family of God. Amen.