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(Part 13)


December 30, 2018
Feast of the Holy Family

Today’s readings:
Sirach 3:2-14
Psalm 128:1-5
Colossians 3:12-21
Luke 2:41-52

The family is God’s design. It is to be a family on mission, one growing in holiness and engaged in the work of the Kingdom. As head of the family, the father takes on Joshua’s commitment: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

How does the individual family member relate to God?

  • Look to grow in godly virtues, such as “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col 3:12), and most especially, love and the peace of Christ (Col 3:14-15).
  • Have right relationships with others, such as “bearing with one another and forgiving one another” (Col 3:13).
  • Know and live the word of Christ (Col 3:16a).
  • Always be thankful to God and do everything in His name (Col 3:17).

How should family members act toward each other?

  • Children to parents – honor and respect them (Sir 3:3-8,12), and serve them (Sir 3:7b), and obey them (Col 3:20). Jesus himself was obedient to his parents (Lk 2:51).
  • Wives to husbands – be subordinate to them (Col 3:18). The headship of the husband is intended for peace, order and unity in the family.
  • Husbands to wives – love them (Col 3:19). Such love is to be unilateral, unconditional and self-sacrificial.
  • Fathers to children – do not provoke them (Col 3:21).

All the above is designed to prepare the family to serve the Lord. They are not just designed to keep the family together to to have proper functioning of family relationships. Jesus himself, at just twelve years old, did not join the returning caravan with his parents but rather remained behind in Jerusalem. And where was he found by his parents? “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Lk 2:46). When Mary rebuked him, Jesus answered: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49).

Another translation of Jesus’ answer is this: “I must be about my Father’s work.” In effect, Jesus was telling them: family and our being together is just preparation and formation for doing God’s work. At the tender age of twelve, with his formal work still much later at the age of thirty, Jesus was already going about the service of God.

After this incident, Jesus “went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51a). He returned to the family home and continued to be formed. And here “Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” (Lk 2:52). Years later, he went on to do greater things for God.

So God uses the family and the home to form His holy warriors, who then are sent out to do mission for Him. This is the greatest blessing for our lives here on earth, to be families on mission. And how are we blessed?

  • We will be provided what we need in life, and even grow in prosperity. “What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be blessed and prosper.” (Ps 128:2)
  • Our spouse and children will be blessed. “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your home, your children like young olive plants around your table.” (Ps 128:3).
  • With the above, we ourselves are blessed, and will experience these blessings down through the generations. “May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see Jerusalem’s prosperity all the days of your life, and live to see your children’s children.” (Ps 128:5-6a).

Love, fear and serve the Lord, walking according to His ways. Such is the key to great blessings. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, and who walk in his ways.” (Ps 128:1).

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