It is in family where Jesus developed, and learned; growing into manhood. Among family, Jesus learned compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. As part of family, Jesus learned to be one with us; sharing our human nature. It was among all his aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters that Jesus shared our lives – joys and sadness – all the conditions that we share as part of the great human family.
Jesus learned love and forgiveness from his parents, Mary and Joseph. They were Jesus’ primary teachers, not only of the necessary skills of living and social association, but of faith and obedience to the laws of faith found in the commandments. In his human family Jesus was closely held, loved and cherished: where he grew strong and was filled with wisdom, where his divinity and humanity united to become one with us, in all, but sin.
The whole structure of Christianity is modeled on family: God, the Father, Mother Church. We are brothers and sisters to Jesus and to one another. We are sons and daughters of God: beloved children of the Father. Our faith is filled with references to family and the good of family held by the Father.
God’s fourth commandment is ‘Honor Thy Father and Mother’. So important is family to God that He made this commandment – our relationship with one another of primary importance, second only to His commandments of our relationship with Him. His commandment, to honor Father and Mother, speaks to all generations, past, present and future. For love of God and love of one another, faith and practice: are traditions of such significance to the human condition that the Father holds them in high esteem, to be handed down – generation to generation within family by our primary teachers of God’s love found in Father and Mother.
The obligation to teach, within the family structure, rests with Father and Mother together. In their role as teachers of the faith, their children and all future generations - come to know, love and serve God through Jesus Christ. The story of God’s gift of love and salvation for His people is learned within the family, so all members may model – by thought, word and deed – the traditions of our faith.
The evil-one works in many ways to destroy the family - because he knows that family is where faith and love of God develops, strengthens and matures. He attempts to convince us that there is no need for a father and a mother to make a family, or that any group or combination of people can be called a family or that there is no need for sacramental grace in the formation of a family. The evil-one fears God’s love found in family.
God’s gift of salvation, by the forgiveness of our sins and His promise of everlasting life, comes to us in family. His creation of mankind in our first father and mother, Adam and Eve, who the evil-one sought to destroy by sin, was redeemed through the Holy Family. In the Holy Family, Father, Mother and Son, we find the power and glory of God – the hope for all mankind found in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. ~Amen.