FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY (White) Cycle C/Year I (December 30, 2018) (Sir 3: 2-6. 12-14/ Col 3: 12-21/Lk 2: 41-52)
“I must be in my father’s house.” This was the thought which constantly ran in our minds when, as children – enjoying so much our games with our friends, we forgot the time and then suddenly we realized that it was already dark and we had to go back home. With this thought in mind, we hastily went home. The same thought ran in our minds when, as teenagers with the curfew hour set by our fathers, we had a lot of fun with our buddies and then suddenly found out that it was already the curfew hour. We then rushed in going back to our father’s house.
What is in that father’s house? We know well that our parents’ or father’s house makes us feel comfortable since to be with our father or family is to be safe. This feeling is especially valid for children and even adolescents. However, some adults, a number of which are even old, feel the same way especially when they are in crisis. And so, the father’s house makes us safe because our parents provide us all the things that we need: material things-food, clothing and shelter; and spiritual things-affection, understanding and love. In the father’s house we even feel secured because our parents will defend us from all that can harm us.
“See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” In the gospel for this Sunday, Joseph and Mary search for Jesus who has been missing for at least two days. They are thinking that Jesus should have to be in their company; that he must be in the father’s house. Joseph and Mary have lost Jesus and they are worried not simply because they have lost their son but more so they have lost the center of their existence as a family, Jesus the Son of God. They are too preoccupied of how to conserve their human family as to forget their membership in the divine family. The crisis that Joseph and Mary have experienced is due to the loss of Jesus at the center of the family.
“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” With these words, Jesus awakens his parents that more important than the human relationship is the divine relationship, than being parents and children is the divine filiation and, than human family, is the divine family. Jesus brings his human family to his divine family. Only when we have God at the center of our family can we truly exist as a family. The holy family has been formed upon the acceptance of this truth.
Many of our families today are also experiencing crisis. Some are broken families; others experience misunderstanding and even hatred among the members. Some parents are irresponsible while some children become disobedient. Many government and non-government organizations give a lot of programs to conserve the family in our modern society but most of them are not so helpful. Why? The reason behind is that they have missed to solve the real problem. They only see the social importance of the family as the basic cell of any community. They conserve the family only to conserve the society. Thus they fail to see in the family its moral and spiritual dimensions.
There are people who define the family as “Father And Mother, I Love You.” There seems to be a truth in this definition since the family is where love resides. But there can never be love without God since God is love. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the God who incarnates to be one with us. He is the love of God personified. Therefore, there can never be love in the family without Jesus Christ at the center of it.
A family, therefore, is a community of parents and children with God at the center of it, particularly Christ for us Christians. Christ, as the Love of God among us, is the One who binds not only the husband and wife but also the parents and the children. He is the vital member of the family without whom the family disintegrates. And the family in which Christ occupies the most prominent position is called Christian family.
In the Christian family we can find the so-called “father’s house”, where we always long to be especially when we are in crisis. Only in a Christian family can we find true understanding and forgiveness, love and affection, security and happiness. This is so because in the Christian family, Christ lives and where Christ is, there is the Heavenly Father.
The Christian family, therefore, is not only where we find what our hearts desire but also what our spirits long for. We are created in the image and the likeness of God and so, as St. Augustine puts it: Our heart is not at rest until it rests in you, our God. The Christian family brings us to the experience of the divine family where we feel the love and protection of our Heavenly Father. It makes us long for the Heavenly Home, the “Father’s House.” Only in the Father’s house can our hearts find rest and our spirits experience the innermost joy that the world cannot give. Only in it, can our whole being encounter its full realization and live its true dignity of being the sons and daughters of God, our Heavenly Father.
“We must be in the Father’s House!” This should be our constant desire as we go on with our daily life here on earth. We can lose every thing that is important to us but never the Father’s House because we are made from it, we live for it and we are called to dwell in it.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, may we work for the Christianization of our own families by putting Christ at the center and letting God dwell in us. Let this Christmas season be the time for Christ to live in our hearts and God the Father to guide our lives.
Let us turn to our Mother, the Blessed Virgin. From the moment that she encounters Christ at the temple, she never lets Him be far from her. Where Christ is, there she is always. Even until the death of Christ on the cross, there she is, suffering with Him. May she guide us never to lose Christ in our families and in our personal lives so that we may always feel at home and happy wherever we are because we know that in our families we are just like in the Father’s house.