Theme: OUR FAMILIES ARE HOLY BECAUSE GOD IS OUR FATHER AND
WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD BORN IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE WOMB OF MOTHER CHURCH AND JESUS IS OUR BROTHER AND WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO ONE ANOTHER
- Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:2-6. 12-14;
- Psalm 127:1-5. R/ cf. v. 1;
- Colossians 3:12-21
- Matthew 2:13-15. 19-23
A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus Mary and Joseph, Liturgical Year A.
The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is holy, because God is the Father, Jesus is the Son of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Joseph is the foster-father!
Our families are holy, because God is our Father, we are the children of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mother Church and Jesus is our brother and we are brothers and sisters to one another!
The gospel today tells us that Joseph the foster-father of Jesus did the will of God the Father. He did it three times. In the first time the angel of the Lord asked him to go to Egypt, because Herod wanted to kill Jesus; in the second time the angel of the Lord asked him to return to Israel, because Herod was dead; and in the third time the angel of the Lord asked him to go to Nazareth and thus the Holy Family is the Holy Family of Nazareth and Jesus is called a Nazarene fulfilling the words of the prophets. In all three times, Joseph obeyed the angel and did the will of God!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that if we do the will of God we will be blessed! The first reading tells us that the will of God is that we honor our father and mother! To honor our father and mother is the fourth of the Ten Commandments! The first three commandments tell us to honor God!
The fourth commandment tells us that after honoring God we have to honor our father and mother! After that follows the fifth to the tenth commandments, that is, thou shall not kill, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness, thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife and thou shall not covet your neighbor’s goods, respectively!
The first reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment. It tells us that if we honor our father and mother we will be blessed with long life, prosperity, our sins will be forgiven, God will listen to our prayers, and we will be happy with our own children!
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!” (Ps 127:1; SM)
That is, O blessed are those who revere the Lord and do his will!
The responsorial psalm tells us that if we do the will of God our homes and families will be blessed with satisfaction and contentment, with happiness and prosperity, and we will have many children!
But today some people in some modern western countries do not want children. They do not want to get married, they do not want a family and they do not want to have children. They only want to stay together without marriage. The will of God is that we must not stay together without getting married. We must get married, have a family and have children! The responsorial psalm tells us that it is not only the will of God, but it is also the blessing of God that we get married, have a family and have children!
In 2012 at a National Day dinner, the founding and former prime minister of Singapore (1959 to 1990), Lee Kuan Yew, told Singaporeans to get married, to have a family and to have children! He warned that if present trends continue there will be no more Singaporeans in the future! 31% of Singaporean women do not want children and 41% of Singaporean men do not want children! (Internet; Catholic World News, August 14, 2012; Yahoo News, August 12, 2012)
In sum, we have to get married, we have to have a family and we have to have three or more children! We need to have 2.1 children to maintain the population! It is the will of God and the blessing of God to get married, to have a family and to have many children!
The second reading tells us about Christian life in general and family life in particular. The second reading has three paragraphs. The first two paragraphs tell us about Christian life in general and the third paragraph tells us about family life in particular. It tells us about the relationships between husband and wife, and parents and children. Thus we read in the third paragraph of the second reading:
“Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.” (Col 3:18-21; Sunday Missal (SM))
Again, some people in some modern Western countries will not agree with the above quotation! Their wives do not submit to their husbands and their children do not obey their parents! In order to transcend cultural barriers and conditionings we have to go back to the basics! Thus we may paraphrase the above quotation thus:
‘Wives love you husbands “in the Lord”. Husbands love your wives “in the Lord”. Children love your parents “in the Lord”. Parents love your children “in the Lord”’!
The basic commandment is love God with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole soul and with all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves! (Mt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31) If we go back to the basics, all will be equal and mutual in love and in dignity!
Let us conclude with a few practical suggestions for a holy and happy family:
(i) A family must pray together. A family that prays together stays together! There are many forms of prayer, including the morning and evening prayer of the Divine Office, Bible-sharing, Sharing and praying the YOUCAT (Youth Catechism), Faith-sharing, etc.
(ii) A family must be part of a Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC), that is, a nuclear family must be part of an extended Christian family!
(iii) A family must eat together at least once a day at dinner time! The Eucharist was in the context of a meal! Thus the words of consecration of the wine: “In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice ….”!
(iv) Both father and mother must be present at home! No absent father syndrome!
(v) A family must communicate, that is, talk and listen to one another!
May the Good Lord bless you with a happy and holy family! Amen!