I love this feast day. I loved today’s first reading, Sirach 3,2-6.12-14. Especially the line that jumped out at me this morning: “he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.” And today’s Office of Readings included Ephesians 5:21 – 6:4 and a wonderful meditation on the home in Nazareth by Pope Paul VI. Good stuff to chew on, a good way to begin a new year, to think about goals, one of the most important of mine being renewing my focus on my family.
Attending mass at my parents’ parish, St Louis in Austin, is always a treat. The music is superb. Bell was on her very best behavior. We had a good homily by the deacon, I especially appreciated his exhortation about faith education: Most adults are trying to get by on what they learned about the faith as children. We wouldn’t expect that to be enough in any other area of life.
So often priests don’t know how to address important issues (I’m not going to use the words because I don’t want to deal with the spam) from the pulpit without offending the innocence of children and thus these important topics are neglected. Father Fox manages to say what needs to be said so that those who need to understand will understand:
Some people don�t �fit the mold�;
some can�t marry as God and nature define marriage.
It�s not our place to redefine marriage;
but it is certainly our place�indeed,
it�s absolutely our obligation before God�
to embrace everyone without mockery,
without ugliness, as Christ in our midst!
We hold up the Holy Family as an ideal;
but Christ knows well how �dysfunctional�
our families can be.
That�s why he came to be part of our human family!
no explicit language that children might understand or ask hard-to-answer questions about and yet he doesn’t talk around the issue either:
Christ the man saw women as Images of God,
not as servants, or imaginary partners on the Internet.
And yet it’s not just an “issue” homily, it delves into the meaning of the feast and helps to break open the meaning of scriptures. It’s not just a feel-good homily either, father manages to talk about sin and our need for healing. Above all, like all his homilies, it’s short, readable, and thought provoking. Thanks again, Father, for taking the time to compose good homilies and to share them with the world.
Yes, our families are far from the ideal.
But they, too, can be �holy families.�
Not because they look like a Christmas card,
but because we let Christ bring courage,
and healing, and hope:
Not to the families of our dreams,
but to the real family life we actually have.
Finally, I was very moved by this commentary on today’s gospel. For brevity’s sake (I know,I know too late) I won’t excerpt it; but do click through to read it.