All of us love Christmas; in fact, year in and year out, we look forward to this event. We take great effort in prepping up our homes as early as November to prepare for the Lord’s coming birth. Immediately after, the Sunday after Christmas, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.
Today’s Christian family is a challenged family. Poverty, work employment, decent living and health, are some of the current issues affecting every Christian family. We see the same challenges that the Holy Family had during their time. In the Gospel account, we read that Joseph and Mary brought the Child Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”.
The Holy Family lived in poverty, despite their being “highly privileged” in the eyes of God. According to the Law, the prescribed offerings are usually lamb or goats, however; two young pigeons were accepted as sin offerings from the “poorer people”, and as purification offerings. Why can God allow the Holy Family to be poor? Many of us find it hard to imagine the Holy Family living in abject poverty. Yet in God’s infinite wisdom, He shows us that the Holy Family is a “human family”.
Being poor, they were a “challenged” family, a very much human family. They handled all sorts of difficulties and challenges that life has to offer, to share our human experience that we may share in His divine life. Despite being challenged, the Holy Family was a very pious family. Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year with other Jewish families. They showed us that even in poverty, one can handle life’s daily challenges. That despite these issues, it is possible for one to be holy and obedient to God.
We celebrate Christmas because we are reminded as the Church proclaims, “Your Son shares our weakness: may we share His glory.” We celebrate the Season lest we forget that God loves us so much, that He sent His only Son to save us from sin. And this feast of the Holy Family we are reminded we can always strive to be holy, in our own humanly way. Let us be like the Holy Family to the world!
To be like the Holy Family, we must find time to read the Word. We must pray regularly to God. Doing so will make us better families, holy families. Only then can we become light of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to the world!
Have a blessed Season!
“What will people remember me for?” Wake up every morning with a positive mindset of making a difference to someone. Affect others through influencing them in your own way and building that lasting beautiful memory. Be that blessing to someone, be that light in the dark, be that spark of positive change, and thou shall be rewarded with great spirit full of love and happiness.
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to pay attention to my own needs and well-being. I do really matter. How easy it is for me to turn my attention from my priorities to substitutes. I will endeavor to be prompt in setting priorities and taking action on them. I must cease and desist from escaping the discomfort and change of life. I choose to love myself as well as I love others.
Today, I will spread serenity, acceptance and kindness. I WILL GIVE HEALING TO THE WORLD.
The Christmas season is one of the most, if not the most anticipated of the Philippines’ annual events. It is not only the longest; it is also the most colorful. We cherish it with child-like glee and we enjoy its colors and themes. Hopefully, the meaning isn’t lost in the attractions and celebrations. While we like its once-a-year celebration, how about a year-long celebration of its meaning and essence?
While we are focusing our reflections on the coming of the Lord this Christmas, wouldn’t it also be better if we look at the Gospel as a continuing work, as an “endless” coming of the Lord, not just during the Christmas season, but even on an ordinary day in any season and time?
The real measure of the Gospel’s impact on our lives is its transformative nature, its contribution to the on-going process of our conversion. Creating time to reflect on the daily Scripture readings will give us the chance to listen to God’s messages and learn from His examples. It will make us know Him better, and thus build and deepen intimacy. While we are excited to welcome the Divine Child during the Christmas season, we should also welcome the Living Word every single day of the year for Christmas to be really meaningful and relevant.
This Sunday’s Gospel talks about Mary’s acceptance to God’s call. It wasn’t easy for the young virgin to accept this invitation. She was greatly troubled; she must be so anxious. Yet, despite the confusion, she placed her trust in God and said “Yes”. Mary walked this pilgrimage in a deep, obedient and intimate relationship with God. He was with her long before she even responded to His invitation. God chose Mary from among the many women in history, but most importantly, even before Mary chose God. This order is very important if we want to grasp the deeper meaning of living the spiritual life. Sometimes we think that it is us who brought God into our lives. We are misled into thinking that we do the initiating and somehow control the relationship. Yet, Jesus clarified this order of invitation when He told His apostles, “You did not choose me, I chose you”(Jn. 15:16).
Mary — just like the many saints and martyrs throughout the ages — has understood that it is the Lord who reaches out to us in His love. This should be enough assurance that our God is so overflowing with love, who calls us to obedience and a life of faith. He has provided us with all the insights that can help us decide clearly. The Scriptures are there for us to meditate on the infinite bounds of God’s love and mercy. It’s up to us to respond with a clear “Yes”, just like what Mary said to the Angel. This shouldn’t be so hard for us to do, with the gift of rational thinking He has provided us.
Clearly then, it is the Lord who offers His grace. We are the recipients of that grace, and it fills us according to the capacity that He has built within us. That grace moves us to respond to the Lord, to say YES, in word and deed.
This Christmas and in any other ordinary season, may our life’s song be like Mary’s,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to be attentive to my impact on others. I must temper my intensity with the acceptance of my vulnerability. I will allow myself the pleasure of tender feelings. I will practice waiting and listening before taking action. I need a sense of calm and quiet within. Seeking win-win solutions will inevitably lead me to the best options in life.
Today, I will summon the strength to be a positive influence to people. I WILL SPEAK OUT FOR WHAT I REALLY BELIEVE.
There are battles that are worth fighting for and still there are some that do not deserve to be noticed. The battles that you choose must be in behalf of someone or a cause that would make the world a much better place to live in. Your full attention and commitment is required in order to champion it . Pain is inevitable. It is the potion that will strengthen you during the battle.
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to notice that my seeking pleasurable options is a response to my fear of deprivation, or a desire to escape from responsibilities that constrain my freedom, or an escape from pain. I will focus on working at one thing at a time until it is completed. Dreaming is good, but daydreaming is definitely a bum. I should rather be more conscious of the feelings of others, and realize that it is limiting to seek just the positive and avoid the negative.
Today, I will be cheerful and enrich the lives of others around me. I WILL SHARE HAPPINESS.
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to reclaim faith in myself, others, and the universe. I must learn to accept that some uncertainty and insecurity area a natural part of life. I need not fear. I need not fight nor flee. I will summon positive action instead, in spite of the my tentativeness.
Today, I will be courageous before everything life has to offer. I WILL TRUST IN THE GOODNESS OF LIFE.
THE GOD OF COMPASSION INVITES ME to experience the wonder of feelings instead of retreating into detached analysis. Withdrawing and withholding brings me no benefits. I will take action, realizing that I have ample energy and support to carry it off. I will engage in conversation and express myself, even daring myself to reveal personal matters.
Today, I will fully engage with life and appreciate the beauty around me. I WILL REFRAIN FROM BEING JUDGMENTAL OF MYSELF AND OTHERS.