Holy Family: Model family

Al Cariño, OMI
Editor: Mindanao Cross
Reproduced with Permission

In an old Chinese story, a wise teacher asked his students, "What is the most satisfying thing in life?" One said, "A happy marriage." Another said, "Good health." There were many more answers, but after everyone failed to give the correct one, the teacher said: "The most satisfying thing in life is to see a child confidently walk down the road on his own after you have shown him the right way to go."

Raising a family these days is no joke. There are just too many internal and external influences on the child which are beyond the control of parents.

At home, we often find both parents working because income just can not meet expenses. They leave the house early and return home late and tired, thus reducing interpersonal communication which promotes family bonding. On their part, children are "raised" by the household help or worse, by the ubiquitous TV set, video machines or play station. Because parents are not home, the children are unprotected from things that may harm them.

Sometimes, parents are even `forced' to temporarily part ways--to work in urban areas or worse, abroad--so that the family can have a bigger income. Because of the separation, one or both parents sometimes enter into a relationship with someone other than his or her spouse, resulting in broken families. We are all witnesses to what a broken family can do to a child.

Outside the home, there is the problem of the child going with the wrong company. Peer pressure, specially in the absence of a loving and supportive family, can easily make him try drugs which can lead to addiction--which is every parents' nightmare.

Social scientists tell us that the rise of juvenile delinquency is directly proportional to parental delinquency. Because parents are God's cooperators and representatives, failing in their parenting role is failing in their first and foremost obligation to God.

Today, we are celebrating the feast of the Holy Family (Lk. 2:41-52). We are aware that to accomplish His plan of salvation, the Father had His Son born into a family. By this act, God sanctified the family. Knowing how the members of the Holy Family interact with each other can help us understand our own roles and responsibilities in our families.

Joseph

Mary

Jesus

If there is one quality that stands out in the Holy Family, it is this: each one of them is Spirit-led. The love and obedience to the Father and the love and respect for one another that dominated the Holy Family were brought about by the Spirit active in them. Thus there was harmony and peace in the family. For led by the Spirit, each one personified what St. Paul has said, "Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another... And over all these put on love." (Col. 3:12-14) Amidst the confusions and dislocations brought about by the modern world, there is much that we can learn from the Holy Family if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.

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