We are still in the Octave of Christmas, meaning, we celebrate eight days as one day of Christmas. In this First Sunday after Christmas, we remember the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The First Reading tells us of God’s promise to Abraham, whom God said will be the father of a multitude of nations. And Sarah will also be blessed because God will give Abraham a son by her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her. This shows it is God’s will that couples will have children because they are blessings to parents. This could be naturally born children or adopted children. And they have the right to be raised by a father and mother.
Which is why God arranged it so that his Son will be raised by a father and a mother. Parents are called to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their children. In fact, Simeon spoke to Mary and told her: this child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too. While this prophecy was directed to Mary, and no one suffered more than Mary, parents, in a way will also have a sword pierced in their soul. Whenever they see their children suffering, in sickness, when they are hurt. Yet, the important thing is we accept these are part of the joys of parenthood. One may ask, how can suffering be a joy? This is possible when we realize what joy means: it is the result of confidence that God can use our sufferings, the sufferings of our children for their good.
The Second Reading tells us Abraham offered Isaac when God told him. While we may desire the best for our children, we must, as parents, let go of them and let them live their lives, make their own decisions and be present for them, should they come and need our help. We love them unconditionally, but that does not mean we will let them run away from their responsibilities.
There may be some parents who weep because their children have left the faith and lived their lives opposed to the will of God. These parents may have done all they could to pass the faith to their children. When this happens, parents must not blame themselves because everyone needs to make their own decisions. God desires their conversion more than we ever can. We continue to pray to the Lord, asking him to intervene and lead our children back to him. Parenting is difficult. God’s first children: Adam and Eve, disobeyed him and lost their inheritance shortly after God created them.
Mary had to let go of Jesus so he can fulfill his mission. Parents, we too must let go of our children to let them fulfill their mission in life. While doing so, we pray to God that they will always live a life according to his will.
Fathers, God has ordained that we be defenders of our families. We need to guard what our children watch and play on computers. As long as they live in our house, we have the duty and responsibility to protect them. We are also responsible for passing the faith to our children. Learn about the faith so we can teach them when they ask us. We cannot pass this responsibility to other people.
Mothers, you are there to protect your husband and children from themselves. Protect your husband so he will not harm himself or his family.
Parenting requires supernatural grace to fulfill. It requires the grace of God and also our commitment to protect our family and nurture them with God’s Truth and power.
Lord, help me to be a good father/mother. Give me wisdom to do what you have ordained that I do. Give me the grace to see what I need to do, to guide my children to you. St Joseph, protect my family. Mary, protect my heart, so I may only desire what is pure and holy for my children. Lead me to Jesus.