December 30, 2016
Sir. 3:2-6; 12-14
Introduction: We live in a society that threatens the stability and unity of the family. Every family at various times faces its own problem either from within or from without. In the Gospel today, the Holy Family faces the threat to life of the Infant Jesus from an insecure King so obsessed with staying in power. Like the ordinary family today parents may face serious sickness or one of the children may be stricken with a life-threatening illness. Or one of the spouses may be falling into another man or woman in a same-sex or other sex relationship. How are they to handle these trials?
(1) Family means having someone with you not only in good times but also in bad times. It is sticking together knowing that you need each other especially on the face of trials. For Joseph, it could have been easier to abandon Mary and Jesus behind. After all, Jesus is not his biological son. Or for Mary, just to leave the responsibility of protecting the child to Joseph. After all, he is the head of the family. But no, they faced the problem together. Mary and Joseph fled their child to Egypt. It was clear to both of them it was their responsibility to take care of the child and they did so together! Being together does not change the problem but it does give the assurance that one is not alone but is with the other at the darkest hour of the night.
(2) Along the way, as the family tries to solve the problem, there may be conflict among the members but it does not mean that they have to leave each other behind. The way may be troublesome but one has to remember the aim: aside from solving the problem is to keep the family together until they get through it. Unfortunately, many couples today, especially the young, just quit leaving their future, hopes, and dreams into ruins. Nothing is sweeter than a family that stayed together amidst difficulties and made it through together.
(3) Finally, to reach that height is only possible in the context of love which is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being, but a higher kind of love called friendship and self-giving. More than mere lust which only sees objects as a means to satisfy one’s appetites. Such friendship and self-giving is capable to recognize and love persons for themselves, like the love of God, that is a love capable of generosity. One desires the good of the other because he is worthy of being loved. Although this can be a topic of a homily by itself, sex in marriage must be placed within the context of LOVE within the FAMILY, even only as an addendum here.
Conclusion: Children need the family where they can best grow and develop. They need the strength of the father and comfort of the mother when they deal with difficult life situations. Couples too need each other expressed in their mutual self-giving in love. The Holy Family leaves us an example of how a family faces difficult challenges in life: not leaving the other behind but staying in mutual self-giving in love!
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches