The Holy Family as the Model For Every family
1 Samuel 1:20-22,24-28, 1 John 3:1-2,21-24 , Luke 2:41-52.
We welcome you to the first Sunday after Christmas. Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of the Holy family. The Holy Family is the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The Holy Family reminds us of the importance of our family roots. In this family, we see a replica of how the father, mother and children should live to keep peace. The Holy family is the model for every Christian family.
They remind us of how every family should be bound in love. In this family, we see how the father should treat his wife and children and how the wife should treat her husband and children and hence how the children should treat their parents.
In this family, Joseph represents all the fathers, Mary represents the mothers and Jesus represents the child or children. Therefore, we have the Holy Family as our model if we truly need peace and progress in our families.
The Importance of the Family.
The first thing we have to note in today’s feast is that Jesus is born into a family. By being born into a family, underscores how important the family is.
It means we cannot do without the family. It is the starting point of our human existence and hence influences most of the things that we do.
The family is very important for our moral, spiritual and psychological growth. Many Psychologists and sociologists have emphasized that 70 per cent of our attitudes and human traits can be traced back to our family.
When a child behaves abnormally, many people always blame the parents for the upbringing of the child in question. Also, some of the things we do today or some of the things that form part of our lives can be traced back to what we learn from the family. Our first major influence comes from the family. This shows how important the family is.
Therefore, the Holy Family helps us on how we have to make the family a rightful place to live in. The Holy Family teaches us to take the family as a very important factor in our spiritual and moral lives.
Every Family Must be dedicated to God.
From the readings, we have to understand that there is a place that every family must be rooted in. Every family must be in God. Every family must dedicate themselves to God.
In the first reading, we can see little similarities between Hannah’s family and that of Joseph and Mary. Like the Holy family, every year, Elkanah and his family go to Shiloh to offer an annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfil his vow. The family does this every year to keep their vows to God.
Also, in the gospel, we noted that Joseph and Mary go to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover every year. This is what Joseph and His family went to Jerusalem to do before the child got lost in the temple.
Also, as the Blessed Virgin Mary does in Luke 2:22-24 after Hannah weans her child, she takes Samuel with her together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh; and dedicated the child to God all the days of His life. In these families, we see total dedication to God. This shows how dedicated to God every family should be. We should be rooted in God.
Today, many families are rooted in arusi. Many families have fetish substances buried in their homes and houses. Many people today have satanic altars as their stronghold. We have relegated God.
Every family without a spiritual foundation is not a foundation. Many families today do not even have time for prayers. But we have time to watch movies from morning to night. Mothers and fathers have failed to teach their children the way of the Lord and the importance of holiness.
This is the reason many children today think God is a mere imagination. Many families today are cracking because they forgot that popular maxim that every family that prays together lives together.
This contributes to the high level of moral decadence that we witness in our society today. We have failed to give God a little time but fast to give movies, tv shows etc more time. Every family must be rooted in God if we need peace and progress.
Every Family Should be Rooted In Love.
For any family to grow perfectly, the law of love should be the guiding principle. When we read the story of Hannah, one special thing we shall discover is how Elkanah, her husband, was solidly behind her when she was childless.
In 1 Samuel 1:8, Elkanah was her only consoler, encouragement, pillar and support in times of challenges and difficulties. This is love in action. This is what every husband and wife should do. They have to solidly love and remain with each other in tough times.
In the second reading, John says that we have to keep God’s commandments and live the kind of life that he wants. And His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he told us to. Therefore, love is a divine principle, Without Love, no family can stand.
In the gospel, It is quite obvious that a child should always be guided in the hands of the mother. Because according to Jewish custom, women are only allowed but not required to observe the Passover.
Only men are required to observe the ritual sacrifices of the Passover event. This is especially for Jewish men who live within 20 miles of Jerusalem. They are required to attend Passover annually, while others aspire to do so at least once in their lifetime (Barclay, 24).
Therefore, When the child got lost, it would be normal to blame the mother. I guess Joseph would be so busy. So, it’s normal if they begin to blame each other or the mother for the missing child.
Joseph did not do that. There is no single place in the scriptures that we see where Joseph talks hard on Mary or Mary insulting Joseph. Rather they remain in love. This should be the law for every family to follow.
Every Family should Work Together.
The family burden is not only for the father alone or the mother alone. The family burden, roles and responsibilities are for all. Both the parents, the children have roles to play in the family. Therefore, every family should work together.
Do you agree with me that when Joseph and Mary discovered that Jesus was not with them, one would have asked the other to look for the child alone, instead both of them search for the child everywhere, even among their acquaintances.
The reading says “they” went searching for the child. The gospel does not say only the mother or the father is looking for the child. This alone shows how every family needs to work together. Who knows how many houses they went searching for the child.
First of all, they searched for Jesus among their acquaintances and then went back to Jerusalem to search for Him, and remember that the journey From Nazareth to Jerusalem is a significant journey which is about 60 miles (100 km) requiring several days travel. They travelled back to Jerusalem which is a massive sacrifice.
Then, they did not go to the temple directly, the reading says that they went back to Jerusalem searching for Him everywhere and then on the third day, they discovered him in the temple.
This togetherness should be how we must work. The father and mother must come together. It is not a one-man race.
This is the reason that at marriage, the two hands are joined together to show that the burden and responsibilities are for the couple. At marriage, they are no longer two but one. So, it is not for one but two in one.
In the same way, the children must always be there for their parents.
Every Family Must be bound by Respect.
One special quality we have to learn from the Holy Family is respect. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Paul writes “wives be subordinate to your husband as is proper to the Lord and husbands love your wives and avoid any form of bitterness towards them and then children obey your parents in everything for this is pleasing to the Lord. (Colossian 3:20-21).
In all the challenges the Holy Family faced, none of them insulted each other, instead they respect and love each other. Let us always know this.
When either of the couple respect and adore each other, the family unity strengthens, Then love increases, there is then assurance for progress.
Rather, today, we prefer war to peace. We prefer violence to love, we prefer intimidation to understanding and tolerance. Yet, we are the same people crying. If we want our family to change for good, let us change for good.
Secondly, every child should imitate Jesus. Jesus never disobeyed His parents for once. We have to know that we owe our parents respect and obedience. We need their blessings to prosper. Never treat them badly.
1. The Holy Family remains the model for every family. We have to look up to them. So, we do not have to look up to anyone. We do not have to look up to that family we think are driving exotic cars and your family is not.
Therefore, we do not have to look up to that family that is building mighty mansions during Christmas and your own did not.
This is the reason many of us are inviting problems in our marriages, creating unnecessary competition and problems. Sometimes, because we always look outside, we tend to put pressure on ourselves.
If you are a woman and your man is not up to the standard you want, support him to live to the standard. Gradually you will reach there.
If your husband is sick, it is not the time to abandon him and start seeking pleasure elsewhere. At the time of difficulties, the Holy family worked together and not alone let us do the same.
1b. If you are a man, you have to work together with your wife. If she is not yet with a child, it is not a time to abandon her and make her feel so bad, Elkanah did not do the same. Do not treat your wife as if she is nothing. It is by working together that you would progress and not by fighting each other.
2. The Holy Family today teaches us that no family is without problems and challenges. We can see that despite how close to God, they are, they had a lot of challenges.
Today’s searching for Jesus is one of those challenges. Also, remember that once, the Holy family runs away to Egypt to protect the child from Herod.
Therefore, we have to know that challenges are part of life. So, when you encounter challenges in the family, quit blaming anyone. The Holy family teaches us today that the way to face every challenge is not by playing blame games but by coming together and working together.
So, we should learn on how to come together and work as one. we can not solve any problem in isolation.
We can never succeed in division. Let us come together and work as one. We must throw away all the unnecessary competitions, envy and hatred and work with one mind. With one mind, we will achieve success.
3. Joseph here represents the fathers of today. The blessed virgin Mary represents the mothers of today while Jesus represents the children of today. Hence, like Saint Joseph, every father should take His wife as part of his body, treat her as one and respect her as one. Do not insult your wife.
Do not treat your wife as if she is nothing. Treat them as your body. Joseph would have sent Mary away when he saw that Mary is with a child but He did not.
He would have insulted her when the child was missing but he did not. Joseph would have allowed Mary to suffer alone when the child was missing but he did not.
The fathers have to do the same.
Also, mothers have to respect and love their husbands. Do not insult your husband. Do not make Him feel so low of Himself. Respect your husband always. Also, mothers should always pay attention to their children and guide them properly.
In the gospel, you can see that it was Mary who was asking Jesus the reason he did not go home with them.
Mary says “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’”
Mothers should know the whereabouts of their children, find out some hidden reasons behind their actions and guide them properly. Children can be open to them more than they do to their fathers.
4. In the gospel, Jesus also teaches all children their responsibilities towards their parents. Immediately, Jesus followed them back to Nazareth and the gospel says that He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority.
We must respect and obey our parents. In the ten commandments, this is the only commandment that God attaches a condition to it.
God says in Exodus 20:12 “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
In Ephesians 6:1-3 Paul says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.
In Proverbs 20:20 God says that If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness. So, let us properly guide ourselves.
5. Finally, praying together seems no longer fashionable in today’s families. The Holy family is holy because Jesus is born into the family. We have to be prayerful and then seek holiness.
Jesus is born in every family too. Jesus sanctifies it and makes it holy. At Christmas, the Word takes flesh.
Therefore, we have to allow Jesus to take flesh in our homes. If Jesus is born in our homes, we shall become holy, prayerful, seeking God with all our hearts. Then there will be no time for envy, jealousy, wickedness, unfaithfulness, hatred and backbiting.
The family where Jesus is born is a place of peace, joy, mercy, forgiveness, respect, love and progress. What we learn from the families can lead us far in life
Let us make our families holy, peaceful and unified in love. May God bless you. Happy Christmas!!