Fr. Ben’s Homily for the Feast of Holy Family Year C
Theme: DOMESTIC VIRTUES!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Sunday December 26 2021
*Sir 3 : 2 – 14, Col 3 : 12 – 21, Matt 2 : 13 – 23.
The family is the domestic Church. No other structure can replace the family. The devil knows this and that is why he has launched his greatest warfare against the family structure. The breakdown of the family structure is the greatest wind of secularism blowing today. We live in a commercialized, atheistic, competitive, heartless and brutal society today all because the peace and love designed by God to be imparted on the world through the family is fast disappearing. Take for instance, how much sense of love and peace would you expect from a young Fulani herdsman who grows up following cattles from bush to bush? It is in the family that the foundation of human relationship is laid; love, gentility, kindness, selfishness, etc. It is there that the structures of faith and morality are built. Psychologists remind us that many of the personality problems of grown ups have their roots in family deficiencies during childhood. Family plays a central role in human formation and growth; It provides a fecund ground for Christian virtues to flourish. Parents need to understand that every word and deed of a parent is a gospel read directly by the children and a fibre woven into the character fabric of the child.
* I had a funny experience in my last apostolic work as a seminarian where I was embarrassed by a little child that greeted me with: ‘ria shi’ (eat shit). I decided to investigate the source of this embarrassment and discovered that she learnt it from her mother who I caught using the same language 9 times within 24 hours I stayed in that compound.
B. CASE STUDY OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, we must observe from today’s gospel that what made them holy is their docility to the will of God, the special level of humility and meekness displayed by Joseph and Mary when they found him in the temple after 3 days’ search, and the obedience of Jesus to them as his parents following them home.
That family was not without their own troubles and hardships as follows; (i) Unexpected pregnancy of Mary from a strange source, (ii) Financial difficulties of a poor carpenter’s wage, (iii) Mary’s problematic maternity labour and eventual delivery in a manger, (iv) Flight to Egypt in the night, (v) Prophesy of Simeon, (vi) 3 months absence of Mary on visitation to Elizabeth, (vii) 3 days search for Jesus, (viii) Oppositions and constant life threat from the Jews, (ix) Arrest, crucifixion and death of Christ. Inspite of all the above troubles and travails of life, this family operated as a happy family because they put their trust in God.
C. DOMESTIC VIRTUES
The 2nd reading of today insists that the following virtues must never lack in any holy family; (i) Kindness and compassion, (ii) Forgiveness for each other, (iii) Peace at all cost. It is only a devotion to the Word of God that ensures this. The following virtues are more specifically required from each stake holder in the family circle; (i) Wives must be subject to their husbands. (ii) Husbands must love their wives and do not be harsh with them. (iii) Children must obey their parents in everything holy. (iv) Parents must never provoke their children.
I pity the home where every one is the head. In every administrative organigram there must be a superordinate. In a Christian home, it should be the man, all things being equal. Feminists must take note of this! The fourth commandment is never discarded until both parents and spouses are dead.
Let me conclude with these 7 ‘C’ s of family holiness according to Dr Paul Kelly: (i) Commitment (ii) Communication (iii) Compatibility (iv) Compassion (v) Confession (vi) Conviviality (vii) Children’s cooperation.
Every Christian family is a communion of Saints – They are mystically connected to God and to one another (This is why many are sick today. Many who naturally have high blood pressure , ulcers and cancers will have these ailments worsened when this family spiritual and emotional connection is disrupted by quarrels.
Perfect family fellowship influences perfect Parish fellowship which in turn influences Community and World fellowship. Let’s remember, as Pope John Paul II put it that “A Christian family is a miniature Church”.
May God bless all families today!