HOMILY: HOLY FAMILY 2020
There is a story of a family. One day, a mother bought a cake for the family and placed it on the table. Everybody was very excited to eat that they raced who should be the one to get the biggest pie and the first bite. Mom said, if Jesus were here, he would let others be the first one to grab and eat. He would be happy to receive the smallest chunk of the cake. The eldest elbowed his younger sibling and said you play Jesus! The key is sacrifice. It is painful. One person has to sacrifice!
We are celebrating the feast of the Holy Family. It is the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Sacrifice is ones willingness to share in the suffering of our loved ones. The gospel speaks to us about the presentation of Jesus in the temple. Simeon had prophesied and warned our Blessed Mother about the imminent sacrifice that she has to bear. “A sword will pierce your heart too” which means she will share in the suffering of her Son. Parents are first of all encouraged to listen to their children. Always initiate a conversation with them because it is in this atmosphere that you will exactly learn what is going on with them. Do not judge them when you listen to them. It is in listening that we enter into their in lives, share in their dreams, successes, struggles and frustrations in life. Rest assured them of your enduring support. When they feel that they are not alone, they are greatly encouraged to give their best shot in every undertaking.
Sacrifice teaches parents constructive criticism and appreciation. It was mentioned in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians that we have to admonish one another and always have that gratefulness in our hearts. Nobody is perfect; we have our own defects and temperaments. Everybody in the family should welcome fraternal corrections. Defects and weaknesses when humbly accepted are opportunities to grow and learn more. However, constructive criticism without appreciation can be offending. Let us learn to be grateful to one another, whether it is small or great accomplishment.
Sacrifice builds a safe space for everybody. The Book of Sirach is reminding us “let us raise the house in justice”. Pandemic definitely teaches us the value of sacrifice and obedience. Before, many are not comfortable to wear face mask and observance of restrictions from travelling, to household gathering, church gathering and in public facilities are burdens for us. It entails a lot of sacrifice which requires total obedience. But now, we are motivated and educated that following health directives are not only for our personal protection but for the safety of the whole community. This is justice because we are doing what everybody deserves in this odd situation. This education must begin within the context of our own families. Parents should be role models for the children.