Sir 3:2-6,12-14; Col 3:12-21; Matt 2:13-15,19-23
Father Patrick Payton in his Holy Rosary Crusade always said that the family that prays together stays together. Based on my own observation, this is true. I have seen many families who go to Mass on Sunday together and I really admire them because I can feel the presence of the Trinitarian family upon those families. There are also families who eat together in a restaurant and pray together before they eat. They are so very happy, I could see in their faces. This what supposed to be a Filipino family is, a united and happy family.
Every Sunday after the Christmas celebration, we are celebrating the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In our local expression when we are surprise or in danger, it is Susmariaosep. This Holy Family is the model of Christian families. This feast has no fixed date. This is movable, just like the Easter celebration.
Pope Pius XII said something about the family: “The life of a family united in intimate love is so beautiful! You can see each member eager and prompt in fulfilling his duties, in pleasing everyone, in practicing justice, honesty, kindness, patience in bearing adversaries and in forgiving wrongs, of strength in the hour of trial and under the weight of toil. You can see the parents educating their children with love and in the practice of all virtues. In a family such as this God is honored and faithfully served and everyone is treated with goodness. Can there be anything more noble and more edifying.”
Today’s feast is very important. The family is a natural society instituted by God and ratified by Jesus Christ. It is also a Christian institution, blessed at the wedding feast of Cana. It is a religious institution. So pray a great deal for the family in the natural, Christian and religious sense because society will be what its families are and so also will the Church.
But if we look at the situation of our society today, this is what happened:
There are so many Filipino families who are suffering from poverty. They even could hardly afford to feed themselves and their children. They could not also, most of the times, provide the normal physical and psychological growth of the children.
There are some families who have no decent homes and no permanent work to sustain their basic needs. Many of our mothers are left in the home teaching their children about moral and Christian values alone while the husbands are out most of the times because they are working or looking for jobs abroad or in other places. This (Absentee parent) could be one of the reasons why there are young people who are drug addicts, delinquents, violent because of the absence of either the father figure or the mother figure in the home.
According to Pope John Paul II: “The family is first and foremost place in which we come to appreciate and live the fraternal life, the life of charity and of solidarity in all its forms. In the family, we learn attentiveness, openness and respect for others, who must always be able to find their proper place.”
Someone had also said that the family is the foundation of our personal as well as our national life. For the family is the soul of nation building.
But according to a survey made in the 1990s by McCann-Erickson about today’s children that about one third of our children are living in their homes with single parents and some of them even don’t have parents to take care of them. Some do have parents but both parents are working. They go home late at night when their children are already sleeping and wake up the next morning late after their children are already in the school or wake up very early. Those children who are not yet in the school are left with their yayas (nannies) or taken cared by their elder child. Some are suffering from broken families due to separation of parents. Who is affected? Not the parents but the children because their parents are so selfish, what they are after are their own joys and satisfaction.
To end this, continue reflecting on these words coming from the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II): “The family is the church in the home. It is the primary community of Christ’s disciples whose members are bound together not only by ties of flesh and blood but by grace and obedience to the Father’s will. Jesus began this work of salvation within a family, the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Thus, family life in the Lord is of greatest concern to the Church. The family plays a pivotal role in renewing Christian life and in forming communities of the Lord’s disciples. The family is where the journey in faith-life is initiated and guided toward maturity,” (no.421).
See Today’s Readings: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph