Neh 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21
There was a story about God calling the three most popular Presidents for a meeting: Presidents coming from Russia, U.S.A. and the Philippines. God told them one thing: “The world will end by the year 2000.” The three Presidents went to their respective countries and told their people about what God had told them. The Russian President said: “My dear people, I have two things to give, all of them are bad news. First, there is God and the second is the world will end by the year 2000.”
The U.S. President also said to the Americans: “My dear people, I have two things to give, one is good news and the other is bad news. The good news is, there is God while the bad news is the world will end by the year 2000.”
Then it was the turn of the Philippine President to speak before the Filipino people. He said: “My dear people I have three things to give, all of them are good news. First, there is God. Second, He talked to your President. And the third is, the world will end by the year 2000 and all our problems are over.” What can you say?
Jesus, in our gospel today, went back to his hometown and he was received well, for he had acquired a reputation. His town mates were impressed about His talent. Since it was a Day of Rest, he went to synagogue as customary and he was given the role to read the second reading which was taken from the prophet Isaiah. Prophets examined their own times and in the light of the Spirit spoke up about people’s blindness to God’s word. Jesus assumed His prophetic role and announces His mission with great clarity: he is anointed to bring good news to the poor. It is not a personal decision but a mission given to Him by the Father.
But Jesus has given this mission, which He started, to each one of us. We shall continue this mission until the end of the world or until He will come again to judge the living and the dead. What is this mission? Pope John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation on “The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World” (or Familiaris Consortio, 1981) which was summarized in the Catechetical Modules on the Festival of Fathers (2002 p. 70-71), the Pope enumerates the four general tasks of the family. Since all of us are members of a family, hence, these are our tasks and mission too.
First is forming a community of persons. The family which is founded and given life by love, is a community of persons: of husbands and wives, of parents and children, of relatives. Its first task is to live with fidelity and reality of communion in a constant effort to develop an authentic community of persons.
The inner principle of task, its permanent power and its final goal is love: without love the family is not a community of persons and, in the same way, without love the family cannot live, grow and perfect itself as a community of persons.
All members of the family, each according to his/her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building, day by day, the communion of persons.
Second is Serving Life. The fundamental task of the family is to serve life, to actualize in history the original blessing of the Creator – that of transforming by procreation the divine image from person to person.
The Church condemns as a grave offense against human dignity and justice all those activities of governments or other authorities which attempt to limit in any way the freedom of couples in deciding about children. Consequently, any violence applied by such authorities in favor of contraception or still worse, of sterilization and procures abortion, must be altogether condemned and totally rejected.
Fruitful married love expresses itself in serving life in many ways. Of these ways, begetting and educating of children are the most immediate, specific and irreplaceable.
Third is Participating in the Development of Society. The social role of the family cannot stop at procreation and education of children, even if this constitutes its primary and irreplaceable form of expression.
Families therefore, either singly or in association can and should devote themselves to manifold social activities, especially in favor of the poor or at any rate for the benefit of all people and institutions and cannot be reached by the public authorities’ welfare organization.
The spiritual communion between Christian families, rooted in a common faith and hope and given by life by love, constitutes an inner energy that generates, spreads and develops justice, reconciliation, fraternity and peace among human beings.
Fourth is Sharing in the Life and Mission of the Church. The family not only receives the love of Christ and become a saved community, but they are also called upon to communicate Christ’s love to their brothers and sisters, thus becoming a saving community.
Christian families offer a special contribution to the missionary cause of the Church by fostering missionary vocations among their sons and daughters, more generally, ”by training their children from childhood to recognize God’s love for all people.” The Christian family welcomes, respects and serves every human being, considering each one in his/her dignity as a person and as child of God.
Having heard these four great tasks and mission, just as Jesus is good news because people came to Him. Let us make ourselves good news too so that others may become closer to God.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C
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