Feast of the Holy Family - homily
Today’s second reading is not only beautiful and powerful, it’s also pertinent to families. I highly recommend each family at St Andrew’s to make a copy of this reading – Colossians 3, 12-17 – and post it in your home somewhere…frame it or put it on the refrigerator. It’s not only the guide for how each Christian family is to live, it also offers solutions to problems that arise within each family. I will go through a few of the lines from this passage and offer some practical application for them.
“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph didn’t post this passage in their home. It hadn’t been written yet! They lived it. They lived compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. They are the example for Christian families.
“bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” I have been working with a family that has been in a serious crisis. There has been major tension between the father and the oldest son. This goes back years. There has been much anger and many hurts. Each of these realizes now that they need to reconcile with the other. They realized that they should have reconciled long ago. They need to reconcile for each other, but also for the mother and the other kids. They don’t need to be best friends, but they need to make peace. They need peace to dwell in their home – the peace of Christ.
“And over all these put on love”. It’s interesting that when I asked both of these guys if they loved the other and if the other loved them, they immediately said yes. There is love there, but so much stubbornness…so much pride.
“And be thankful”. Every so often I have to remind parents not to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to their kids. Yes, your kids get into trouble sometimes, yes they don’t listen to you or aren’t motivated as you would like – and I’m not excusing them in specific ways – but, parents, your kids are good kids! Kids, you also shouldn’t miss sight of the big picture: without your parents, you wouldn’t have anything. They have given you life, they have given you everything. Everything you have in your home, in your room and in your person – all of your personal gifts – is from your parents. You should give thanks for your parents every day. Parents, you should give thanks for your kids every day, and that God has entrusted their beautiful lives to your care.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. We come to the Eucharist primarily to give thanks to God the Father through Christ. But, we also come here each week that we may do everything during the week in the name of the Lord Jesus. We come here for the grace to live out the second reading in the home! It is hard to live, especially when conflicts arise in families. But, it is possible with the grace of Christ, especially the grace of the Eucharist and Confession. Reconciliation is possible. Compassion, humility, patience, and love are possible on a regular basis.
May we all be open to the grace of the Eucharist so that we might put on compassion, humility, patience, and forgiveness in our homes. And, above all, may we put on love.