Father Nathan Homily | December 29, 2019
Father Nathan | Homily
Holy Family Sunday
We gather today for the feast of the Holy Family, a model family for our families on the last Sunday of the Year.
We have come from our families into a wider family – the family of the Christian community, a family of worship.
We are reminded that we have a common father –God – and that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us reflect for a moment on the quality of our ties with our families and with our community
And let us offer all the members of our own families on the altar for God’s blessing.
Scripture lessons summarized:
Today’s first reading (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14),is a commentary on the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.”
Ben Sirach has many good things to say about living properly according to the Torah. Sirach reminds children of their duty to honor their parents – even when it becomes difficult.
He also mentions the two-fold reward which God promises to those who honor their father and mother.
The first reward is “riches,” and the second, long life:
“Whoever reveres his father will live a long life.”
He reminds children that God blesses them if they obey, revere, and show compassion to their father.
Responsorial Psalm (Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5),
“Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.”
The second reading (Colossians 3:12-21)
Paul, in the letter to the Colossians, advises us that we should put on love and remain thankful in our relationships with one another.
Paul’s advice is part of the “Household Code” – the rules for members of the Christian family. Though the details date to Paul’s time, the underlying message of being careful with one another – being full of care for one another – is timeless.
Paul teaches that children should learn and practice noble qualities like compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and sharing in the warmth of the family. In a truly holy family all members are respected, cherished, nurtured, and supported, united through the bond of love.
Today’s Gospel (Mt 2:13-15, 19-23)
Mathew sees Jesus as reliving the history of his people.
The Gospel story is colored by the story of Moses in Egypt. Just as Moses had to be recused from Pharaoh, Jesus had to be rescued from Herod.
The story also contains echoes of the Exodus.
Even though the evangelist’s intentions are theological, he does show Jesus, Mary and Joseph as homeless refugees. Describes how Joseph and Mary protected the Child Jesus from the sword of King Herod by escaping with Him to Egypt.
1) Lessons to Learn from the Holy Family:
By celebrating the Sunday following Christmas as the Feast of the Holy Family, the Church encourages us to look to the Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph for inspiration, example and encouragement.
They were a model family in which both parents worked hard, helped each other, understood and accepted each other, and took good care of their Child so that He might grow up not only in human knowledge but also as a Child of God.
Jesus brought holiness to the family of Joseph and Mary as Jesus brings us holiness by embracing us in His family.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#CCC 2223) gives the following advice to the parents:
“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule.
The home is well suited for education in the virtues.
This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones”.”
The CCC adds: “Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children.” (CCC #2223).
2) We need to make the family a confessional rather than a courtroom.
A senior Judge of the Supreme Court congratulated the bride and groom in a marriage with a pertinent piece of advice:
“See that you never convert your family into a courtroom; instead let it be a confessional.
If the husband and wife start arguing like attorneys in an attempt to justify their behavior, their family becomes a court of law and nobody wins.
On the other hand, if the husband and the wife — as in a confessional — are ready to admit their faults and try to correct them, the family becomes a heavenly one.”
3) Marriage is a sacrament of holiness.
Each family is called to holiness. By the Sacrament of Matrimony (marriage), Jesus sanctifies not only the spouses but also the entire family.
The husband and wife attain holiness when they discharge their duties faithfully, trusting in God, and drawing on the power of God by prayer.
Wishing you and Your Family a Year Filled with Holiness and Healing!
Have a Blessed Week,
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