Today's Feast teaches every Christian family to imitate the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Reflecting on our Holy Readings, particularly our Gospel this Sunday, we can learn three essential tips on how to improve our family relationships:
1. Children, be obedient and respectful to your parents.
Jesus was obedient to His parents. The key to a harmonious family is children showing a deep respect and gratitude to their parents. To “honor thy mother and father” is one of God’s Ten Commandments, because by following it, the family experiences peace and unity. When children begin to think that that they are better and smarter and talk back to their parents, respect and love disintegrates, and the family breaks apart. Children, do you listen to your parents and those who care for you?
2. Parents, responsibly guide your children.
Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus for days and never stopped until they found Him. They were responsible guardians for Jesus. Children who have the trustworthy presence and guidance of their parents are more likely to succeed in life. In previous generations, Dads would work and moms would stay at home. A single parent working was enough to provide for the family, and there was always one parent at home to nurture and teach the children. But today, the cost of living is high and both parents are pushed to work outside the home, leaving the children in the care of someone else. Parents, I urge you to spend good quality time with your children when you come home from work and on your days off. Make family time a priority, a time to listen to your children and get to know them. Do not be afraid to guide them, to make rules for their benefit. It will make all the difference.
3. Make Prayer and Worship Your Family's Foundation
Mary and Joseph, as faithful Jewish parents, valued immensely the importance of worship and faith. They brought Jesus to the temple and fulfilled their religious duties to God as loving parents. It is alarming to know that many families do not give much importance to praying together. Sports has become a new religion that has a higher priority than going to church. Even working on Sundays has become a new trend to have extra money to pay for expensive toys, a hobby and for extra shopping. Instead of building a Christian Family, too often we are building a sports team and a materially obsessed family.
Father Patrick Peyton, the founder of the Family Rosary Crusade said, "The family that prays together, stays together".
A family that does not make God the strong foundation is like the house built on sand: the winds blew and flood came, washed all the sand away and the house fell. Forget God and your family will fall.
So, on this Feast of the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Jesus are our example and model for building a Christian Family. As we continue to celebrate Christmas, offer your family to God. Kids, obey your parents. Parents, guide your children. And Make a commitment to pray together at home always and go to Holy Mass together on Sundays. This is the formula for peace and happiness in the home!
I am praying for your families. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless and protect our homes.
Fr Carl Arcosa, Pastor