It’s the season when families come to spend the holidays together. We travel long distances to attend family reunions, visit old friends and meet again childhood neighbors. It is timely and providential that in the middle of the holidays, the Scripture readings focus on the family.
The First Reading (Sir. 3: 2-6, 12-14) reminds us to be most considerate with family, whom we love so much,
“God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority He confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother.”
The Lord reminds us how we treat our parents especially in their twilight years. This strikes me especially that my Mom is at this stage, where she is fragile and needs extra loving care. I’m blessed that I have sisters who live with her while the rest of her children are working in different places. We know that while we are struggling to do this role, the Lord will surely fulfill His promise of supporting us in His mysterious ways.
Sadly, there are also families who have lost the love and gone astray in their relationships. We ought to pray for healing and love to be restored as God has willed it to be.
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 2: 41-52), we read from St. Luke the narrative when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem at the age of twelve to fulfill their obligations according to the Law. After that, they left thinking Jesus was with the caravan but the child stayed behind in the Temple. When they found him after three days of search, they were surprised as he was sitting in the midst of the teachers of the Law. He was listening and asking them questions, and all who heard him were amazed at his wisdom,
“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.”
The scene must be one of mixed emotions; imagine the parents have travelled with the caravan for a day, returned to Jerusalem and searched for what, three days? This must be such a harrowing experience for Joseph and Mary. So what do you think was the reaction of the parents when they found Jesus? St. Luke didn’t elaborate much on that for us to reflect on this ourselves. And yet,
“Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth and he was obedient to them.”
With the rapid advancement of technology there comes a time when our parents lose track of developments in their aging years. Most will not understand what we’re doing so they sometimes ask us questions about it. If we’re not patient and understanding with them, we might take them for granted and hurt them unknowingly, unlike Jesus at twelve. We may not be patient with them when they talk about the past a lot, or rewind stories every now and then. In this Gospel, Jesus taught us how to honor, understand and be patient with our earthly parents, for they rightly deserve it.
Surely, we’ll find comfort in the promise of Yahweh God, as can be read in the closing verses of the First Reading,
“My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins —a house raised in justice to you.”
Let us pray that during this season may we realize how blessed we are to be given that opportunity to take care of our beloved parents, so that we too can share our gratitude to their never ending love and patience in raising us. Like Jesus, may we remain obedient and grateful, so that in doing so, may we reflect the Lord’s goodness to Joseph and Mary.
‘Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways.’ (Ps. 128: 1)