From the Pastor's Desk
On the last Sunday of the year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. We are here to offer all the members of our own families on the altar for God’s blessing.
The first reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment: "Honor your father and your mother." Ben Sirach has many good things to say about living properly according to the Torah. Sirachreminds children of their duty to honor their parents – even when it becomes difficult. He also mentions the two-fold reward which God promises to those who honor their father and mother. The first reward is “riches,” and the second, long life: “Whoever reveres his father will live a long life.” He reminds children that God blesses them if they obey, revere, and show compassion to their father.
Paul, in the letter to the Colossians, advises us that we should put on love and remain thankful in our relationships with one another. Paul’s advice is part of the "Household Code" – the rules for members of the Christian family. Though the details date to Paul’s time, the underlying message of being careful with one another – being full of care for one another– is timeless. Paul teaches that children should learn and practice noble qualities like compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and sharing in the warmth of the family. In a truly holy family all members are respected, cherished, nurtured, and supported, united through the bond of love.
Today’s Gospel describes how Joseph and Mary protected the Child Jesus from the sword of King Herod by escaping with Him to Egypt.
1) We need to learn lessons from the Holy Family: The Church encourages 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, understood and accepted each other, and took good care of their Child so that he might grow up not only in human knowledge but also as a Child of God.
2) We need to make the family a confessional rather than a courtroom. A senior Judge of the Supreme Court congratulated the bride and groom in a marriage with a pertinent piece of advice: “See that you never convert your family into a courtroom; instead let it be a confessional. If the 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.”
3) Marriage is a sacrament of holiness. Each family is called to holiness. By the Sacrament of Matrimony (marriage), Jesus sanctifies not only the spouses but also the entire family. The husband and wife attain holiness when they discharge their duties faithfully, trusting in God, and drawing on the power of God by prayer.