[BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD’S WORD]
Feast of the Holy Family
December 27, 2015
IN THE FATHER’S HOUSE
Christmas is associated with family togetherness. My heart reached out to so many people who, on Christmas Eve, were trying their best still to catch a ride and go home to the provinces. All bus stations were filled to overflowing and the ports all over the country were no exception.
Christmas without family is just an empty celebration, devoid of meaning, and can only be enjoyed from afar. One’s heart belongs to hearth and home, and home is where the kernel of family is, “in the Father’s house.”
Today’s liturgy is about the “holy family.” It is prophetic to know that the life of the holy family shifted from simple to complicated just as soon as the child was born. After the foil and the tinsel and the romantic images have worn off, and envious insecure leaders like Herod already were entertaining crazy ideas, the complications began to set in. Led by Joseph, the mother and child fled to Egypt as the life of the young boy was threatened and in danger.
Christian families and families in general are now also endangered in many and varied ways. The life of families the world over are now complicated and besieged on all fronts. We saw some of it last Christmas eve. Hordes of frantic travelers were trying to beat the deadline and reach home to hearth and kin all the way up to the dying hours of the day, when families all over the country were just about ready to partake of what they were able to prepare for their “Noche Buena.”
Much like the boy Jesus, children, too, in our times are threatened by so many challenges against not just the value of life, but against so many other values or rights that children everywhere ought to be enjoying. And much life the holy family, many families in the country are forced to be on the move to get to the proverbial greener pastures.
The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph also faced the challenge of a sudden painful separation. The boy, who was no more than 12 years old, one day went missing. The distraught parents were searching all over, frantically trying to understand the pain and the seemingly hurtful answer of the boy when asked: “Why do you look for me? Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
The boy, early on, knew his priorities. The parents, somewhat belatedly too, understood that it was part and parcel of family life to become apostles, too, to others and on behalf of God. Somewhat belatedly, too, Joseph and Mary learned that family togetherness and unity does not only mean being physically huddled together all the time, but united in doing the Father’s business.
The boy, they understood in due time, had to be in the Father’s house to do as God willed – to begin his mission of being an instrument of the Father’s saving will.
Yes, dear friends, dear parents and dear children. Christian families are asked by the Lord to share the faith. They, too, are sent to become messengers too of the Father’s plan for the world and for humanity.
The family, according to the Church’s teaching, ought to be a domestic Church, and last thing I heard is, Church essentially means being sent, being about God’s business, and doing the Father’s will.
So what about you? When will you spend your time, effort and all resources you have in the Father’s house?