Disobedience in family life…destroys a happy future outside family
Our lives require a constant series of decisions – every day – and our lives are usually a result of our past decisions. Although, occasionally, life intersects and sudden changes happen:
eg. the economy, a car crash, a bushfire, a flood, sickness of other friends/family members, etc.
So, it’s important to have a consistent source of influence in our lives, to help us make good decisions. What drives your decision making? Is it simply money or immediate responsibilities?
Our story today and the importance of our Feast of the Holy Family, teach us how Mary and Joseph both listened to the influence of God. It’s interesting that an angel physically appeared to Mary, but Joseph only had a dream.
God doesn’t always make life easy and, perhaps, it’s because God doesn’t want to take away our freedom and the healthy pride we receive when we use our brains to make good choices.
Both Joseph and Mary were faithful to their religious faith and obligations. And, because of that, they were able to hear and interpret what God was asking them to do.
Which philosophy of life do we usually follow? Are we faithful to our religious beliefs? When we are only half interested in our faith and don’t make sacrifices to attend church, to be part of the community life of the church, then we slowly lose trust in the faith we believe.
When we start giving more and more time to other influences in life – the media, the Government, the society norms (different to the cultural norms) – then we open ourselves up to confusion and conflicts in our lives: two different belief systems.
It’s important we don’t put halos on the Holy Family or we can lose our connection with them. Their holiness came from their ability to trust God. But their earthly struggles are a gift to us because they remind us that, when we are faithful to God in trying times, all will turn out well:
1) Joseph couldn’t understand how Mary became pregnant;
2) They were refugees for some time;
3) Jesus went walk-about for 3 days causing stress in the family;
4) at one point, Mary didn’t understand Jesus: “he has lost his senses” (perhaps many times!).
Finally, the example of Jesus (the Son of God), submitting to the authority of his parents, teaches us the importance God places on the role of family life in our human development.
This also comes through the First Reading:
Whoever respects his father will be happy; with children of his own, he shall be heard on the day when he prays. Long life comes to him who honours his father, he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.
Whether our parents are still alive or not, we know what they expect of us.
And, if we follow those expectations, we remain in communion with them.
And that communion strengthens our belief in a life beyond death.
And our belief in a life after death also instructs us for how to live in this life.
Our family lives are rarely perfect, because none of us are perfect. Our parents enter into family life wounded themselves: sometimes they know it and sometimes not.
But the commitment of parents to children and the constant forgiveness and sacrifice of parents for their children is, perhaps, the greatest sign of God’s commitment to us.
Just as family life requires constant “input” to keep it stable and happy, so our relationship with God requires constant input to keep it alive and be the major influence in our decision making.
May we take time this week to reflect on what influences us in our decision-making.
So that we may make some corrections, if necessary, and protect the good in our lives.
Let us pray today for each of our families in 2020. We ask God to bless and protect them.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI