Holy Family – December 28th – The Foundation of all – FAMILY!
Bottom Line: Families now a day are under threat from within and without. Families frequently fall apart because of strong tensions among between the members. Families are frequently put under stress from without, social pressures, changing norms within society and so on.
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Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong – St. Anne Catholic Church – Columbus, GA
HolyFamily – Year B – 2008_2009 – [email protected]
1 Samuel 1:11, 20-22, 24-28
1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
The Foundation of all – FAMILY!
Families are under threat today. They are under threat all over the world but I suggest even more so in Western Society than anywhere else. So after the rather intense liturgy of Christmas with its heavy theological theme, the Incarnation of the Lord, (hopefully that didn’t get lost in the sentiments of the day); today the Church presents us with a much lighter theme theologically, the Feast of the Holy Family. But before we deepen ourselves into the theme, allow me to give you some alarming statistics. Two thirds of United States families do not eat their meals together. Of the third who do, 50% are watching TV during the meal. The average child over 8 watches three and a half hours of TV daily, largely because the tired parents use the TV as a baby sitter at the end of a long day. (Economic Policy Institute)
Family life today is a most difficult pursuit. One thinks of divorce, the scourge of alcohol and narcotics, the breakdown of discipline, and all the rest of the unhappy lot.
We should pay attention to St Paul’s letter to the Colossians in Asia Minor. Apparently word had reached Paul that Christian families in Colossa were falling apart. And so he notes the qualities that must be in a Christian home. Sit back and allow Paul’s magnificent words to seep into your spirit. “Bear with one another. Forgive one another…
Over all these put on love…Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts…Be thankful…Wives, cherish your husbands…Husbands, love your wives…Children, obey your parents in everything.” What a home it would be were one to find all the qualities Paul enumerates! They would be Hall of Fame material. People would fight to visit and just hope the family magic would rub off on them and their families. Why not allow it to be your home? Sadly, family now no longer spent time together!
There is a story of a little boy greets his father as he returns from work with a question: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” The father is surprised and says: “Look, son, not even your mother knows. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” “But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?” the boy insists. The father finally gives up and replies: “Twenty dollars.” “Okay, Daddy,” the boy continues, “Could you loan me ten dollars?” The father yells at him: “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Just like your mother! Now, go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!” At night the father thinks over what he said and starts feeling guilty. Maybe his son needed to buy something. Finally, he goes to his son’s room. “Are you asleep, son?” asks the father. “No, Daddy. Why?” replies the boy. “Here’s the 10 dollars you asked for earlier,” the father said. “Thanks, Daddy!” replies the boy and receives the money.
After the father left his room, the little boy reaches under his pillow and brings out some more change that he has saved. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” He ran to the TV room where his father is watching TV, sits next to the father, and say softly, “Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?”
Today’s readings have a message for this father and for all of us, and the message is that we need to invest more of our time in our family life. We need to learn to put our families first above all things. We need to spend time with one another!
Talking about “spending time” I like to recommend an experience I had on Christmas night with you! After the midnight mass, I was invited to a family – I meant bog family of brothers and sisters; aunts and uncles, cousins nieces and nephews, you name it they gather for a hot breakfast! What a great way to celebrate Christ birthday – Jesus must be very happy! I pray and hope that you keep those traditions going!
Families now a day are under threat from within and without. Families frequently fall apart because of strong tensions among between the members. Families are frequently put under stress from without, social pressures, changing norms within society and so on. My dear friends, please make no mistake about it if families are destroyed then society itself will inevitably perish The changes that have taken place in our society in the last thirty years do pose a great threat to the family. For many young people today marriage is not even considered as options it has become so devalued by widespread divorce that the ceremony itself has become meaningless to them. Our society has become so preoccupied with rights of this group and that group that the basic building block of society has taken a severe battering and is not regarded even officially as a norm within society.
Being a priest, I love seeing how much you love your children. I love the fact that you all are determined to provide the best for your children. Let me remind you, to be the best parents you can be, remain grounded in the Lord. Make prayer a part of your home life. Pray with your children at bedtime and pray for them after they fall asleep. Teach your children respect. Let them witness your respect for them, for each other, and for others and demand that they respect others, including you.
Do your best, and trust God to do the rest. May all our families here at Saint Anne be Holy Families.
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong