December 28, 2014 - The Holy Family, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Our modern American culture has not been kind to families. The speed and demands of life rob families of precious time to spend together.
Working parents shuttle kids off to day care centers to be raised by professional caregivers.
Those same working parents race through the fast food drive through for evening dinner.
They get home only to spread their office work across the kitchen table while urging their children to go play elsewhere.
The kids end up in front of video games hoping to shoot
all the bad guys. And when they get bored with that, they play on their cell phones and the Internet.
To top it off many families have only one parent trying to do it all, an almost impossible task.
The feast of the Holy Family begs families to slide a little closer together in the pews today and listen closely.
The Holy Family has much to teach us about fast-paced families.
We say to ourselves: You’ve got to be kidding right? They had it easy. The Holy Family didn’t have problems that real families have.
No? Let me refresh your scriptural memory.
Jesus’ father was only his foster father and his mother was a teenage virgin. They had the baby in a stable because they were poor and traveling at the time of Jesus’ birth.
Not long after the baby was born, the powerful King Herod plotted to kill Jesus. So the family had to flee from the country to save his life.
When Jesus was presented in the temple the prophet calls him the sign of contradiction, not the prince of peace.
They did not have any of our modern conveniences. They had to make and do everything by hand which was tough. Every day was a challenge.
Grain was bought and ground into flour. Yeast was added to the flour to make dough. The dough was baked into bread daily.
Water had to be drawn from the well, another daily task. The Holy Family had to cook every meal over an open fire.
The child Jesus would have had so many chores that time to play would have been brief.
The myth that the Holy Family lived in peaceful bliss hasn’t served our families well. Their lives were just as hectic as ours.
So what made them holy? It would be unfair to give Jesus all the credit. The holiness of their family also came from Joseph and Mary’s response to God.
Joseph and Mary made their faith and the religious practices of their faith the highest priority.
The Gospel of Luke points out, no less than five times, that Joseph and Mary did everything required by the Law of Moses.
As we look at our own children, we must ask: What are we teaching them?
The church says that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children in the ways of faith.
Jesus’ parents taught him a love of God and a love of the Sacred Scriptures, the Word of God.
Mary and Joseph gave to the child Jesus the gift of faith, a most precious gift.
Are our children learning the same lessons? Are they receiving this most precious gift from us?
Or do our children see us constantly distracted by the ways of the world, always on our cell phones?
Do our phones get turned off long enough each day to ask, How was you’re your day? Or what did you learn at school today?
Is there ever any time for an evening meal together? Or are we always running off to this game or that activity?
Do our kids sit in front of the television watching trash? Or do we have the guts to censor our kids’ TV viewing?
Do we say no to certain clothing fashions? Do we have curfews?
Do we monitor the music our children listen to, the movies they watch, the games they play, Internet sites they visit, the texts they send and the pics they receive?
Joseph and Mary listened to God. They trusted their deeper instincts. They made the practice of their faith a priority in their lives.
That’s why they were a holy family.
What are we doing to make our families holy?