THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
“See that you never convert your family into a courtroom; instead let it be a confessional. If husband and wife start arguing like attorneys in an attempt to justify their behavior, their family becomes a court of law and nobody wins. On the other hand, if the husband and the wife - as in a confessional - are ready to admit their faults and try to correct them, the family becomes a heavenly one.”
As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family: Joseph, Mary and Jesus, to sign out this year, (being the last Sunday of 2019), we are called upon to take a second look at our families in our contemporary world today.
There is a gradual loosing of our families. Family size is shrinking, family values are eroding, family identity and solidarity are effacing, the basic tenets underpinning our families have been robbed.
Children fall prey to predators for abuse. Sometimes some parents are even afraid to discipline (correct) their own children and they (children) gradually drift away from their family (some even take decisions that are incongruence to family goals).
All of these owe to the wrong approach to modern trends of advancements; leading to individualism, secularism, materialism and the loss of the sense of God.
The worrying aspect of this canker is that Christian families have been invaded too. We seem to have allowed the influences of the world to control every facet of our lives. Irresponsible parenting, disobedience and delinquency in children, and disagreements between couples are threats to family sustenance.
So just imagine if we lose our families, how will our society and communities exist?
So the Church invites us to look to the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph for inspiration, example, and encouragement. They were a model family in which both parents worked hard, helped each other, and took good care of each other to raise their son Jesus in accordance to the dictates of God’s will and laws.
The first reading talks about the obligations of children to obey and revere their parents. Just as the fourth commandments clearly states, “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (Ex. 20:12) Children are called to respect, love and care for their parents to gain the blessings and favor of God.
But there is a lesson also for the parents. There is a popular saying, ”Like father like son.” This means every child is a product of their parents. You can’t expect your child to be obedient and respectful when you fail to do what is right and just in the eyes of God. The young learn more from examples of their parents than from precepts.
St. Paul, in furtherance to the aforementioned, explains the spirit behind this. Children must know that to obey, respect and honor their parents is to acknowledge them as God’s representatives in their lives. So, to do that is to accord obedience to God Himself.
Finally, our gospel reading gives an insight into the flight to Egypt. Joseph, in an effort to protect his family, had to flee from the cruel plot of King Herod.
My dear family of God, for every family to survive there should be a protection against things that are threats. Hence, we need to protect and safe guard our family faith principles, family values and attributes, family unity, bond and solidarity against the threats of our society today.
If all of these will work, then each member of the family must be there for one other in good and bad moments, care and love one another, celebrate family achievements and successes together, watch each other's back to cover up for weaknesses and failures.
Anything short of these disintegrates the family. Remember, YOU ARE YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR FAMILY IS YOU!
St. John Paul II said, ”a family that prays together stays together.” Use prayer as a binding force to protect your family. God is always watching over your family. You are never alone.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. You and your family are in my prayers. Love you all.
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.