Thursday 12 December 2013

Holy Family

Where do we get most of our education from? Some may say from kindergarten. Others may say from primary or secondary school. Others may even say at college or university. However, all these forms of education can only be beneficial to us if we have learnt the basics, and the basics are (hopefully) taught to us at home, at a very young age. It is in the family that we learn to be a person, a citizen, a Christian, and God’s children.

However, the family is under threat. We see more and more families becoming broken. We see lack of communication taking place; husbands and wives not talking to each other; children not talking to their parents or siblings. We see greater increase in divorce rates, because some people are not happy in their marriages and look elsewhere for love and comfort. We see children being left alone at home or under the care of grandparents, maids or babysitters, as parents work late or prefer to live and enjoy their lives outside. We see elderly parents being abandoned or placed in nursing homes and rarely visited, because some people find it inconvenient to care for them (it seems strange and unfortunate that our parents were making sacrifices to care for us when we were young, but some of us are unwilling to do the same when they are old). Some parents have even given up or lack patience to teach their children, preferring to wash their hands and let others do their dirty work. I remember hearing a parent approaching a teacher and asking the teacher to control his son who is very "naughty." The teacher said: "If you cannot control your son at home, where you see him daily for several hours, how do you expect me to control him, when I see him only twice a week for about 30 minutes each?"

All these things may sound like a hopeless situation. But it need not be, if we are prepared to make God and our faith the centre of our lives again. The Holy Family, whose Feast we celebrate today, reminds us that it is not hopeless. The Holy Family was not a perfect family. They too had their problems. But what sets them apart from other families is their faith in God. They understood that a family is never truly a family unless God is made the centre of it. Does this mean that once we make God the centre of our lives, we will not have any problems? No. But we know that God will care for us and not abandon us. The problems we face become easier to manage, if we let God take control and help us, for he will not abandon us.

Whatever obstacles and problems we face in our lives and in our families, let us not despair or give up. God can and will help us. The question is: are we humble enough to walk in His ways and let Him guide us and our families? Do we offer ourselves and our families to God, so He can transform us into something better?

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