Archive for December, 2006

Obedience in Families

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

December 31, 2006

Feast of Holy Family

Sirach 3: 2-6; 12-14; 1 1 John 3: 1-2, 21-24; Luke 2: 41-52

Dc. Larry Brockman


They just got up and left.  The whole family of 5 walked out halfway through the film “The Nativity Story”.  I can only speculate why; maybe it was an emergency.  But I saw cell phones in use.  And I suspect that too much was going on in the world around them and there just wasn’t enough action and excitement in the film to capture their interest and attention.  So they left. 

What a shame.  Because that film captures the true spirit of Christmas.  It teaches us to rejoice over the coming of our savior.  It dramatizes the story of the Holy Family and Christ’s incarnation- the reason for the season.  It shows how Mary and Joseph accepted God’s will for them; how they formed the Holy Family; and how Jesus became man and dwelt among us.  Imagine how much God must love us to have done that- to have his son take on the limits of human nature. 


Now, as we learned in today’s Gospel, Jesus lived in the Holy Family through childhood and adolescence and He was obedient to his parents.  St John tells us we will receive whatever we ask if we believe in God and keep his commandments.  For young Jesus, to keep God’s commandments meant to honor his parents and to be obedient to them- just as Sirach described the family roles in the first reading.  


In fact, obedience is a key ingredient of Faith.  We show how much we believe by being obedient to God.  Because Jesus was obedient to his parents as a child, that obedience helped him to be obedient to God’s will as an adult.  You see, like any other human being, Jesus learned how to behave through his family environment.  He learned from his parents, Mary and Joseph.  He learned all the things that kids learn- how to eat, talk, walk, read, and write.  He also learned to pray, reflect, think, do a task- everything.  Nobody can learn those things in a vacuum.  We all need a family- however you may wish to define it- to learn them.  And the parenting Mary and Joseph did is a credit to them.  It was essential in helping to form Jesus.  Then, at some point in his life, Jesus used the learning he received from his Parents to put it all together- to realize who he was, and to seek out and be obedient to God’s will for him. 

You see, “obedience” is not something that disappears when we become adults.  On the contrary, it is even more important to be obedient as an adult than when we were children.  Jesus’ obedience to the Father meant that He had to suffer and die on the cross.  Likewise, all of us have to accept God’s will for us- whatever that is.  That will always involve a certain amount of suffering and dying.  Each of us must take up his or her cross and walk with it.  And during our life time, we are called to stick it out, to be obedient through the whole process along our way of the cross.  Usually, that means loving one another, loving our parents, children, spouses, and friends along the way- loving them when they are sad, sick, frustrated, and helpless; just as we hope and expect that they will love us in the same circumstances.  But we can always do our part- love them. 

John tells us why.  We are children of God now; but, if our hearts do not condemn us- and they won’t if we are obedient, then we will receive whatever we ask.  And what we all want, is to see God as he is in life everlasting.