FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY.
DECEMBER 29, 2019.
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5.
Mathew 2:13-15, 19-23
” The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort, and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish”.John Paul II
My dearest people of God, the feast of the Holy Family on this last Sunday of the year offers us yet another opportunity to reflect on the human family that is fast disintegrating in modern society. The family, the first institution established by God for the advancement of creation through procreative love, has suffered serious manipulation through science, evolving ideologies, and emergent beliefs that are counterproductive, exclusive and destructive.
The human family is the sanctuary of life and the domestic church according to the Second Vatican Council. In the family, children are raised and trained in the values that promote a love of God and neighbor, affection and appreciation. The family comprises the father, the mother, and children; but where there is no child the family does not cease to exist because conjugal love is the very essence of marital union. Naturally, a man and a woman make up a family. It follows from this therefore that LESBIAN AND GAY MARRIAGES are threats to the family institution, an aberration, a sacrilege, a perversion, a deprivation, a denial and a sin against the natural and divine law.
Family responsibilities belong to the father, the mother and the children. The primary responsibility of every father and mother is to care for and raise their children in the fear of God. Many factors contribute to the disintegration of the family institution; among these is what I call the “workload factor” which means a situation where parents hardly have time for their children due to the demands of their job. When a man and a woman spend more time at their job, it negatively impacts the upbringing of their children. Often You hear parents say “We are working hard to make money to give our children the best in life” . Yes it is positive to work hard to offer your children the best, but do not neglect your primary responsibility to them. A survey of different families has demonstrated that parents who don’t spend time with their children at home end up losing them to bad societal influences. Your job is not more important than your family. Give quality time to your family and work responsibly. The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives the following advice to the parents: ” Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule”.
The Family nurtures and grooms. The father must live up to his responsibility as the breadwinner. He must love his wife avoiding any bitterness towards her, as St. Paul instructs us in the second reading, and finally protect his family as Joseph did in the gospel. The wife, in turn, should perform her motherly duties, subordinating herself to the husband and prioritize raising children ,especially her daughters, since this responsibility falls more on her shoulders Children must respect and obey their parents, offer prayers that their parents live long and that their prayers to be heard, as Sirach tells in the first reading. Fathers do not leave family responsibility on the woman alone even if she makes more money. Wives remain submissive and supportive no matter how much you make. The husband is the pride of the woman, not your bank account.
Dear husband and wife, your home is your heaven on earth, if you scatter it, it becomes hell. Forgive and bear with one another, teach and admonish one another as St. Paul admonishes us. The family should not be a courtroom where attorneys argue but a confessional where each admits his or her own fault and forgives.
Like the Holy Family, every family should be built on prayer, love, care, concern, affection, forgiveness and appreciation. Always love and appreciate each other in every situation. A family that prays together stays together.
Beware of divorce. It is the worst element in the disintegration of the human family. It is a product of lack of: forgiveness, tolerance, and compassion .Joseph did not divorce Mary in spite of the strange pregnancy. Learn to listen to the inner voice of the spirit. Children suffer most when divorce happens. For the sake of these little ones hold your peace and let the sleeping dog lie. Stop traumatizing these children. Divorce destroys the beauty of family life. The church disapproves of it.
Stop abortion. The family has a special role to play throughout the life of its members, from birth to death. It is truly “the sanctuary of life: the place in which life-the gift of God-can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed. Life must develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth ”. Abortion is a serious threat to the existence of the human family. It destroys its very mission and end.
Seek Natural Family Planning methods and shun abortifacients and contraceptives. Remember thou shall not kill. If Mary had aborted Jesus, our salvation would have been an illusion. If Joseph had not protected the Holy Family by taking them to safety in Egypt and back to Nazareth instead of Galilee, the story would not have been the same. Be part of the mission of preserving and protecting lives.
It is the mind of God that children be raised in the presence of a mother and a father as Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph. Whrn this ideal cannot be realized due to family tragedies, the church and society supports these single mothers and fathers. But when the choice is made to deprive a child of a mother or a father, the church condemns it, It is never an option. Children of single parents are deprived of essential psychological factors that enhance a balanced personality, in fact, the child suffers. Say No to it.
The family is established through a marriage institution. Why should you live together with a man or woman before marriage simply because he is your boyfriend or girlfriend? We all need to be reminded that concubinage is sinful because it denies the sacramentality and sacredness of the Human Family. Let your love for each other be publicly witnessed in the marriage covenant before the priest and God’s people in the temple of God. Say no to concubinage dear child of God.
Say no to surrogacy. It is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood. It offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents. It sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families.
Dear Children, obedience to your parents is highly rewarded by God and man, little wonder the 4th commandment has a blessing attached to it. Even if you have reached the legal age of 18, you are not in any way permitted or authorized to disobey your parents because they raised you and gave you life. Without them, there would be no you. Mess up with your parents and someday your own children will mess up with you; because whatever goes around comes around. You are not being charitable in caring for your parents both young and aged, it is a responsibility that flows from divine law. Jesus is our model. Jesus grew up at Nazareth like any other young man, obeying his parents, faithfully discharging all His duties to God, to His parents, and to the community and “advancing in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. Jesus never disobeyed His parents and that is why the favor of God remained with Him and why He grew up in wisdom. Any child that disobeys his or her parents shall never have the favor of God upon him.
Parents teach your children a good example. Don’t scandalize them at home. Remember every child bears the picture of the home he/she comes from and family influences are very remarkable in shaping the personality of a child. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Parents have a grave responsibility to give a good example to their children. ”, (CC,C #2223)
“Let the family bond be cemented and marital love/vows be cherished and respected. We are one family of God. The Church is our family. Let us shun individualism and reach out to others far and near. Let us share the warmth of love, to overcome the coldness of loneliness.”
Prayer: Thank you Lord for bringing us to a successful end of the year 2019. We thank You for your blessings, protection, and guidance. We ask for the grace to build up a greater human family so that You will continue to be close to us. Amen
I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year 2020. You shall not die but shall live to see the goodness of God in the land of the living. I keep you always in my prayers and request for your prayers too, as we journey together with hope into the new year.
©Clem. Mezie Aladi, 2019.