Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Everyone will admit that the family is essential to the existence of any society. Yet, very little effort is devoted to the protection of the family. We are the most powerful country in the world, but have difficulty keeping our families together.
Almost 50% of marriages in America end in divorce. There are other startling statistics out there. The majority of us do not have to google the facts because we’ve experienced them in our own flesh and blood. There are always consequences when a family breaks up, always a time of grieving. However, some couples were never meant to be together, or better way of saying, do not have the capacity to stay together. Therefore, when mistakes have been made, the best option is to go separate ways. The rate of people joining for the wrong reasons is alarming. What is the greatest challenge facing our families today? What is cause of family breakups? Wish there was a barometer or some kind of meter that could pinpoint the problem. No secret, family life has changed drastically in 100 years, 50 years, the last 20 years. One of the major reasons is the attention we give to gadgets. We tend to have selective memory about the “good old days”—but perhaps we weren’t as distracted. Look at drivers—everybody’s on a cellphone. Who leaves home without the cellphone? Why must we feel connected? The reason is because we long for community—to be a family, but we’ve forgotten how. Lots of folks rather text than make a call—risking that their text can be misinterpreted. But we’d rather have the filters—the barrier. Not unusual to see people at a restaurant eating together, but all are on cellphones. The personal touch—face to face encounter is becoming a thing of the past. Ah, but don’t forget facetime. If you really want to see someone’s face, then just dial Facetime. (Difficult when one is in the bathroom.)
Interestingly, we have the greatest means of communication available and have forgotten how to communicate. Unless something is entertaining, we don’t pay attention. Consequently, many children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorders because they were given gadgets as toddlers and then do not know how to deal with reality. Life is not like a TV sitcom or a Netflix series. Problems cannot be resolved in an hour or 30 minutes like in the movies. There are no real magic wands to make everything to our liking. We cannot make some people disappear.
Families require hard work. No family, not even the Holy Family, has ever been free of problems. Pain is part of every life. We need to respect each other because everyone carries a cross. When people have suffered together, they have a better understanding of true love. Love does not go away—Does not evaporate, diminish, or die. Love is forever—lasts unto eternity. That’s why some couples want to be together in heaven. To say, “I don’t love you anymore” is the same as saying, “I never loved you.” Love allows us to look beyond the grouchy remarks, the bad smells, the unnerving bad habits. Love is still possible, regardless of age. Family life is still possible, in spite of all the opposition. Certain members need more attention than others—as in every family. Which family has not been touched by addictions? Who can say that they are free of contamination? All the more reason to reach out to the ones most in need, not ignore them or pretend that they don’t exists. Taking care of each other—putting up with each other—forgiving on a daily basis is the lifeblood of a family. Spending time, without the gadgets, is the best gift possible. Tomorrow might be too late or might never come. This moment is all that we have, the place we make decisions, the now when we can say that we are sorry or show someone that we love them. A holy family is made of ordinary people doing ordinary things together.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus had some advantages, but so do we. To each generation God gives what is needed to be happy. Regardless of the problems, we have a great life. For better and for the not so good, we are family.