Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. Dí Souza

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Holy Family Sunday
December 30, 2007 Year: A
Sir. 3:2-6, 12-4; Col. 3:12-21; Mt. 2:13-5, 19-23
He made his home in a town called Nazareth

First Reading...
"For the Lord honours a father above his children, and he confirms a mother's right over her children. Those who honour their father atone for sins, and those who respect their mother are like those who lay up treasure. Those who honour their father will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they will be heard. Those who respect their father will have long life, and those who honour their mother obey the Lord.

My child, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if his mind fails, be patient with him; because you have all your faculties do not despise him. For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and will be credited to you against your sins." [Sir. 3:2-6, 12-4]

Second Reading...
"As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. Husbands love your wives and never treat them harshly.

Children, obey your parents in everything for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart." [Col. 3:12-21]

Gospel Reading...
"After the wise men had left, and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, 'Out of Egypt I have called my son.'

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead.' Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.

But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He will be called a Nazorean.'" [Mt. 2:13-15, 19-23]

LESSON:
A student asks a teacher: What is love ? The teacher said: in order to answer your question, go to the paddy field and choose the biggest paddy and come back.

But the rule is: you can go through them only once and cannot turn back to pick.

The student went to the field, went thru first row, he saw one big paddy, but he wonders....may be there is a bigger one later. Then he saw another bigger one... but may be there is an even bigger one waiting for him.

Later, when he finished more than half of the paddy field, he started To realize that the paddy is not as big as the previous one he saw, he know he has missed the biggest one, and he regretted. So, he ended up went back to the teacher with empty hand.

The teacher told him, this is love... you keep looking for a better one, but when later you realize, you have already missed the person.

The student asked: What is marriage then?

The teacher said: In order to answer your question, go to the corn field and choose the biggest corn and come back.

But the rule is: you can go through them only once and cannot turn back to pick.

The student went to the corn field, this time he is careful not to repeat the previous mistake, when he reach the middle of the field, he has picked one medium corn that he feel satisfied, and came back to the teacher.

The teacher told him, this time you bring back a corn.... you look for one that is just nice, and you have faith and believe this is the best one you get.... this is marriage.

TRADITIONALLY on the Sunday after Christmas we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family.

In some respects, it was very modern in being just a one-child family.  And we may be inclined to think that, with three such good people, life must have been very easy for them.  But, if we are to take the Incarnation seriously, there is no reason to believe that this family - living the lifestyle of a rural village in those times - did not have its share of hardships over the years. 

In addition there is the record of the child being lost for three days in a large and strange city.  Imagine the anxiety of the parents in such a situation.  Later the mother will see her son become famous and then the object of great hostility.  She will see him abused, arrested, tried, sentenced, scourged, crowned with thorns and finally die like a common criminal with two criminals before jeering crowds.  Few mothers have to go through that kind of experience. 

Today, in celebrating the Holy Family, we ask God's blessings on our own families.  It is a cliche to say that family life today is in trouble.  And it is a self-perpetuating problem.

Children from dysfunctional families themselves set up equally dysfunctional families.  Never having experienced good family life, how can they themselves establish a good family?  And it seems that very few couples go through any real formation process in being husband and wife and parents.  Yet the skills needed do not come naturally - or easily. 

Jesus said that where two or three are gathered in his name, he is there among them.  This should be true of every Christian family.  The Catholic family is the basic Christian community, through which Christ is present and reveals himself in this world.  It has been called the domestic church.

Christian families not only belong to the Church, their lifestyle is a living out of the Christian vision: the vision of unconditional love in a truly sharing community. 

Family life is not meant to be lived in isolation.  The world around it is not just there for its benefit.  It should be united with, supporting and supported by the other families in the parish community and with the wider Church.

The mission of the family is identical to that of the whole Church: to give tangible witness to the vision of Christ for the world. 

There are many ways we can do this in our daily life as suggested by the American bishops in their letter "Follow the Way of Love":

  • Believe in God and really believe that God cares for us

  • Love and have a deep conviction of the value of every other person.  The image of God that children have comes from the experience they have of being loved by parents, grandparents and other family members.  Where, one sometimes wonders, do people get their frightful and frightening images of God as Father?

  • Foster intimacy, starting with husband and wife and extending in appropriate ways to ever member of the family.  In your family, can all members share their experiences, good and bad, knowing that they will be accepted and understood?  Teachers and counsellors sometimes have young people tell them things they would not dare tell their parents.

  • Give witness to the Gospel and its values by the example of a truly Christian life.  Christianity is communicated not just by religious instruction but more by the Christ-inspired integrity of the parents.  And overdoses of pure religion can create opposition and rejection.  But children, too, can be a Christian influence on their parents.

  • Education and formation in the faith.  Parents need this as much as children.  The example of the parents is the most effective way to teach.  Children will be very confused by double standards where parents who act one way and they learn quite different values from their religion classes in school.

  • Praying together.  Thanking God for blessings, asking for guidance in time of trouble.  The prayer should correspond to the actual needs and situation of the family.  Forcing everyone to join in family prayers e.g. the Rosary may not be the best for everyone.

  • Serving each other.  Love consists in each giving to the other.  Then everyone receives.  Creating win-win situations and this can be carried out into life, teaching others to do the same.

  • Readiness to forgive and seek reconciliation.  Healing wounds and letting go of grudges and resentments.  This calls for readiness to listen and to share.  Look for ways to resolve conflicts positively and constructively, avoiding violence in word and action.

  • Celebrate life -- birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, first day at school, graduation days, leaving childhood, first job, friends, surprise visits, big feasts (Christmas, Easter).  Every meal can be a Eucharist of sharing not just food but experiences.

  • Work with the rest of the community to foster the dignity of people, fighting against discrimination and racism, working against hunger, poverty, homelessness...

  • Becoming aware of our particular vocation actively to serve the Christian community and the wider community.  What personal contribution of time and energy is my family making to the life and work of this parish?

These are ideals.  There is no perfect domestic church.  But some come pretty close.  Others are too disintegrated even to get started.

Some can give help; others need help.  We all long to live in a community of peace, unity, reconciliation, acceptance and with a sense of purpose.  It can only happen when we all work together under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

What is a Christian family? "'The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church.' [LG 11] It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament. [Eph. 5:21-6:4; Col 3:18-21; 1 Pet. 3:1-7]

The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father's work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2205)

"The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor. There are many families who are at times incapable of providing this help. It devolves then on other persons, other families, and, in a subsidiary way, society to provide for their needs: 'Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.'" [Jas. 1:27]

The fourth commandment illuminates other relationships in society. In our brothers and sisters we see the children of our parents; in our cousins, the descendants of our ancestors; in our fellow citizens, the children of our country; in the baptized, the children of our mother the Church; in every human person, a son or daughter of the One who wants to be called "our Father." In this way our relationships with our neighbors are recognized as personal in character. The neighbor is not a "unit" in the human collective; he is "someone" who by his known origins deserves particular attention and respect.

JUST JOKING PLEASE

  1. My wife and I have a secret to making a marriage last.

    Two times a week we go to a nice restaurant, a little wine, good food....   
    She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.

  2. I asked my wife, "Where do you want to go on our anniversary?"

    She said, "Somewhere I have never been!"

    I told her, "
    How about the kitchen?"

  Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a serious exegetical study on the important words and texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East, Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can be ordered through email: rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

The cost of the book is Rs. 125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza, OCD, MA. PhD.

Dear friend, my homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit them and if you need more resources, you could contact me on rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

Let us make this ministry fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of joy for me and for you and help people become more aware of its riches. You are also welcome to share your feedback with me. Thanks and God bless. 

 

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