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Investing Time With Your Family

Homily 12 29 2013
Feast Of The Holy Family - A

Homily 12 29 2013
Feast Of The Holy Family - A

View the Readings for this day

A little boy greets his father as he returns from work with a question: "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"


The father is surprised and says, "Look, son, not even your mother knows. Don't bother me now, I'm tired." "But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?" the boy insists. The father finally gives up and replies, "Twenty dollars." "Okay, Daddy," the boy continues, "Could you loan me ten dollars?" The father yells at him, "So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Now, go to sleep and don't bother me anymore!"

At night the father thinks over what he said and starts feeling guilty. Maybe his son needed to buy something. Finally, he goes to his son's room. "Are you asleep, son?" asks the father. "No, Daddy. Why?" replies the boy. "Here's the money you asked for earlier," the father said. "Thanks, Daddy!" replies the boy and receives the money. The he reaches under his pillow and brings out some more money. "Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!" says the boy to his father, "Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?"

Today's readings have a message for this man and for all of us, and the message is that we need to invest more of our time in our family life.

On the last Sunday of this year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. We are here to offer our own families and all the members on the altar for God's blessing.

The first reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment: 'Honor your father and your mother.' Ben Sirach has many good things to say about living properly according to the Torah.

Sirach reminds children of their duty to honor their parents - even when it becomes difficult. He also mentions the two-fold reward which God promises to those who honor their father and mother.

The first reward is "riches," and the second long life: "Whoever reveres his father will live a long life." He reminds children of how God blesses them if they obey revere and show compassion to their fathers.

Paul, in the letter to the Colossians, advises us that we should put on love and remain thankful in our relationships with one another. Paul's advice is part of the "Household code" - the rules for members of the Christian family.

Though it is dated to Paul's time in its details, the underlying message of being careful with one another - being full of care - is timeless.

Paul teaches that children should learn and practice noble qualities like compassion, kindness, forgiveness and sharing in the warmth of the family. In a truly holy family all members are respected, cherished, nurtured and supported, united through the bond of love.

Today's Gospel describes how Joseph and Mary protected the Child Jesus from the sword of King Herod by escaping with him to Egypt.

Life messages:

1) We need to learn lessons from the Holy Family: The Church encourages us to look to the Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph for inspiration, example and encouragement. They were a model family in which both parents worked hard, helped each other, understood and accepted each other, and took good care of their Child so that He might grow up not only in human knowledge but also as a Child of God.

2) We need to make the family a confessional rather than a court room. A senior Judge of the Supreme Court recently congratulated the bride and groom in a marriage with a pertinent piece of advice: "See that you never convert your family into a court room; instead let it be a confessional. If the husband and wife start arguing like attorneys in an attempt to justify their behavior, their family becomes a court of law and nobody wins. On the other hand, if the husband and the wife -- as in a confessional -- are ready to admit their faults and try to correct them, the family becomes a heavenly one."

3) Marriage is a sacrament of holiness. Each family is called to holiness. By the sacrament of marriage, Jesus sanctifies not only the spouses but also the entire family. The husband and wife attain holiness when they discharge their duties faithfully, trusting in God, and drawing on the power of God by prayer.

In his book My Father, My Son, Dr Lee Salk describes a moving interview with Mark Chapman, the convicted slayer of Beatle John Lennon. At one point in the interview, Chapman says: "I don't think I ever hugged my father. He never told me he loved me...I needed emotional love and support. I never got that."

Chapman's description of how he would treat a son if he had one is especially tragic, because he will probably never get out of prison and have a family of his own. He says: "I would hug my son and kiss him...and just let him know...he could trust me and come to me...and (I would) tell him that I loved him."

Dr Salk ends his book with this advice to fathers and sons. It applies equally well to mothers and daughters. "Don't be afraid of your emotions, of telling your father or your son that you love him and that you care. Don't be afraid to hug and kiss him. "Don't wait until the death bed to realize what you've missed.'

I think we all know that the family is under attack in our modern world. However, we put too much emphasis on the media and the culture as the scapegoats.

So the task presented to us in every age is the same.

We Christians still ask, "who are we?"

As community, as families, and as individuals we need to identify what or how Christmas is important for us on the practical level. That is our task.

The family farms are gone. The corner "Mom and Pop" stores are almost gone. Big families with 8- 10 children are gone. Employment separates nuclear families. Nations disintegrate as millions of refugees are displaced by war and violence.

Perhaps Matthew's gospel reminds us it has always been that way. But maybe, displacement and human suffering was never as intense as it is today.

I don't' know how we can do it. But I am convinced we are called to help create a world where immigrants, refugees and all people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome and belonging.

The implications of Christmas for our nuclear families and for the larger world are many. The Internet and wireless phones connect us as one global family. In Christ, a new age, a new creation is emerging.

Do we have the commitment of Joseph to listen to God's call to do what is best for our families when it is hard and less than convenient?

When adversity hits us when we are most vulnerable do we stand strong and fight or do we look for an easier way out? Do we love each other enough to let love be our constant refrain or do we sometimes allow the bitterness that Saint Paul speaks about fester breakdowns in our relationships?

As 2013 draws to a close, I pray that a New Year brings with it a renewal in families everywhere, even in mine and yours.

When the going gets tough I pray, like Joseph, to put my trust in God. Most of all, I pray that each of us listen to God and follow where he leads, just like Mary and Joseph.


Home Homilies Homily 12 29 2013

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Mass Schedule

Saint Aloysius
Tue - Fri - 8:30am
Sat - 5:00pm
Sun - 10:30am

Holy Days
8:30am & 7:00pm

First Friday
8:30am followed by Adoration until 7:55pm

- After weekday Mass
- Before Sat & Sun Mass
- Mon - 3:00pm

Sat - 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Or by appointment

Our Lady Of Lourdes
Sun - 8:30am

Before Sunday Mass

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Saint Aloysius
211 West Mason Ave.
Buckley, WA 98321
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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Office Hours
Tue - Fri 9am - 12:00pm

Our Lady Of Lourdes
506 Ash Street
Wilkeson, WA 98396
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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