The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (A)
Aesop, famous for his fables, wrote about the eagle and the arrow: An eagle sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare whom he sought to make his prey. An archer, who saw the Eagle from a place of concealment, took an accurate aim and wounded him mortally. The Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his heart and saw in that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by himself. “It is a double grief to me,” he exclaimed, “that I should perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings” (aesopfables.com).
Somehow the world has built many self-destruct life-roads, and we have walked in them. Society has hypnotized our families with temporal conveniences that bring about selfishness through the abortive and contraceptive mentality, marginalization of the weak and the elderly, trial marriages and divorce, exclusion and eradication of minorities, selfish manipulation of families, disordered love of money, power and influence that weakens morality, and many others. In a sense, society has made its arrows, feathered from its own wings, for its own destruction, by doing violence to the basic unit of society.
We know that in the family should grow responsible citizens, who can make their homes worthily livable and work for the good of all. The Charter of the Rights of the Family issued by the Holy See on October 22, 1983, states in Article 6: The family has the right to exist and to progress as a family: a) Public authorities must respect and foster the dignity, lawful independence, privacy, integrity and stability of every family.
From the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we can learn many virtues. Among them the following are prominent:
1. Obedience. The dictionary states that it is the act or practice of following instructions, complying with rules or regulations, or submitting to somebody’s authority. In terms of Christian living, obedience is putting relationships in order, so that things can be done purposefully, not because they have to be done, but because persons want to relate with and be happy with one another. Thus, we hope not only for deliverance from unwanted resentments and selfishness, but we hope for salvation for the greater joy and the good of all.
2. Prayer and silence. The world today is very noisy. It’s getting into our system as a normal situation, so that when we find ourselves in a quiet place we get rattled; we deliberately try to find something to do, seek people to talk to, or watch television for 3 to 6 hours a day. We find ourselves very uncomfortable with silence. We are very uncomfortable to sit or kneel to pray because it’s too quiet.
However, in silence and in prayer we gain inner strength. In silence and in prayer we connect with the Spirit of God. In silence and prayer can we hear God and make our responsibilities and relationships meaningful. Without silence and prayer we get into a lot of inner turmoil, unhealthy relationships and unfulfilling activities. St. Paul teaches us: “Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:17-18).
3. Honest work and gratitude. Many people tend to earn their living the easiest possible means, legally or illegally, morally or immorally. Many use and abuse people, relationships, jobs and influence. Thus, among the many things that a couple can do to build up their family are: 1) to try to have their own home. Every family desires to establish its own home, so that they can live and express themselves as one; 2) to live within their means. A family that lives over its means will certainly be miserable in debts and in the psychological burden that debts carry. The family that lives within its means trains children to live grateful lives.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul says: “Put on…. heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another….let the peace of Christ control your hearts…. be thankful….do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (3:12-17).
So, we come to the Eucharist, our food of life, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem and laid in manger, to prefigure this food that we celebrate and partake. He takes away the errors in our hearts that lead to death, and gives us the truth that leads us to the Father. Through the love and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, let us make this Eucharist the center of our life, and let Jesus be the hope, the peace and the life of our families.