Theme: THE HOLY FAMILY IS HOLY, BECAUSE GOD IS THE FATHER, JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, BORN THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
- 1 John 3:1-2. 21-24
- Luke 2:41-52
1. A happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you! We are in the Octave of Christmas which ends on New Year’s Day with the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, inclusive. But the Christmas season ends only with the feast of “the Baptism of the Lord”, inclusive! Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, not Joseph, Mary and Jesus! The Holy Family 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 Virgin Mary! Jesus is the Son of God the Father, not the son of Joseph and Mary. Thus we read in the gospel today:
“They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.” (Lk 2:48-50)
2. More importantly, the readings today tell us that your families are also holy! Your families are holy because God is your Father; you are the children of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism in the womb of Mother Church! The Church is your Mother and Jesus is your Brother! Again, your family is holy because God is your Father; you are the children of God. The Church is your Mother and Jesus is your Brother! Which and what family can be holier than your family! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. …. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed, all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” (1 Jn 3:1-2)
3. Finally, the gospel tells us that in the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Jesus grew up physically, mentally and spiritually. In your holy family too, your children will grow up bodily, mentally and spiritually! (Fuller) Thus we read in gospel today:
“And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Lk 2:52)
4. Pastoral suggestions for the Christian family:
(i) Pray together everyday. A family that prays together stays together. A family that does not pray together does not stay together. You can share and pray on the word of God (Sunday Mass readings). You can pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Evening Prayer). You can also read the word of God at random and say spontaneous prayers, etc.
(ii) Pass your faith to your children. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) asks us to pass our faith to our children by praying with them, giving them good example, teaching them, and participating with them in the life of the Church, especially the Sunday Mass! (CCC, 461)
(iii) Join a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community). A BEC is an extended Christian family. In the “kampong” (village) we have the “extended family” of grand parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc. But in the town and city we have only the “nuclear family” of father, mother and children. Today more than ever the “nuclear family” needs the support of the “extended family”!
(iv) Eat dinner together everyday. No watching television, internet, video, etc. during dinner. No “absent father syndrome” and “no absent mother syndrome”, because of working overtime or working overseas. And once a week or at least once a month, have dinner with the extended family or BEC.
(v) Communication, that is, speak to each other and listen to each other. Without communication there can be no community and communion. Do not only talk about sports, but share your experiences, feelings, emotions, etc.
(vi) Play together. Relax together. Have recreation together. Go for holidays, outings, picnics, etc. together.
(vii) Be open to life! Have many children!
(viii) Pray and encourage your children to become priests, religious sisters and brothers.
Again, a happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you!