Whatever the personal failings of any of us in this present evil age (cf Gal 1:4), our strategy must be to preach the undiluted plan of God for sexuality, marriage, and family to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Here in the middle of the Christmas Octave, the Church bids us to celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. On the old calendar, the feast of the Holy Family falls on the Sunday after Epiphany, which makes some sense. It is a bit odd to read, a mere five days after celebrating Jesus’ birth, a Gospel in which He is 12 years old. And then, next week, we have the Feast of Epiphany in which Jesus is an infant again.
Nevertheless, here we are. Perhaps, it is a good time to reflect on family life, as immediate and extended family often gather together during the Christmas season. Let us consider the family and marriage along three lines: structure, struggles, and strategy.
I. Structure – All through the readings for today’s Mass we are instructed on the basic form, the basic structure of the family.
- God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons (Sirach 3:2).
- May your wife be like a fruitful vine, in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants, around your table (Psalm 128:3).
- Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so that they may not become discouraged (Colossians 3:20–21).
- Each year, Jesus parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover … Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety … (Luke 2:45, 51).
- And he was obedient to them … And Jesus advanced in age and wisdom and favor before God and man (Luke 2:51–52).
In these passages we see the basic structure of the family:
- A father in honor over his children
- A wife and mother who is supportive of her husband and his authority
- A husband who supports, loves, and encourages his wife
- A mother in authority over her children
- Children who honor and obey their parents
- Fathers, and by extension mothers, who instruct and admonish their children, not in a way that badgers or discourages them, but rather encourages them and builds them up
- A family structure that helps children to advance in wisdom and age and in favor before God and man
- A father, a mother, and children, all reverential and supportive of one another in their various roles and duties
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