Sunday, December 31, 2017

“There is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and a woman in marriage.”

And we need simplicity to pray as a family: simplicity is necessary! Praying the Our Father together, around the table, is not something extraordinary: it’s easy. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength!  And also praying for one another! The husband for his wife, the wife for her husband, both together for their children, the children for their grandparents….praying for each other.  This is what it means to pray in the family and it is what makes the family strong: prayer.  - Pope Francis:  Homily, October 27, 2013

Scripture Text: (SIR 3:2-6, 12-14)
God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

For many of us, the past week has presented opportunities to be with members of our families. No matter what difficulties might exist within our families, time spent together can help us realize one of the facts that is rejected by the world, but preached as Truth by the Church: that the family is the foundation of all social life. The family teaches us how “to be with others”, which in turn disposes us to carry out Jesus’ second great command: to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is why the Church calls the family “the domestic Church”.

The habits of the Holy Family must be the habits of our own families. If we truly care for the members of our family, we are willing to both pray for each other’s well-being, and willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to keep each other safe from the dangers of the world. Among the more important, if difficult, of these sacrifices is freely extending mercy to family members who have hurt one or more members of the family.

After the great sacrifices made during His infancy, Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth under the care of His foster-father, Saint Joseph, and His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This life was not spectacular. From the time He was a baby to the time He was thirty years old, we know of only one thing that happened to Jesus: Mary and Joseph finding him in the temple. By and large, the first thirty years of Jesus’ life were simple ones in which His mother and foster-father made ordinary sacrifices for Jesus’ well-being, day after day. The Holy Family prayed together as a devout Jewish family, and they took the steps necessary to care for one another. When Saint Joseph died, Mary and her son carried on alone. Yet no matter what God the Father asked of them, they prayed and acted together according to the Father’s Will.

Today God presents the Holy Family as a treasure. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were not only holy themselves: they help us to be holy. We all know that our world is troubled, and that our country is troubled. We don’t have to dwell on that. But the cure is right here before us: to strengthen the family, to build up the family, and to improve family life through God, which in turn will build up the life of our community, country, and world.

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