“When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’” (LK 2: 48)
One of my favorite feasts: The Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Joseph is never alone, he is recognized by His vocation to be husband and father. This is real identity—coming from vocation, coming from God, by His call. St. Joseph is a husband and father. And he helps us to be good spouses and good parents.
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord; they never cease to praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” (MT 9: 34-35)
Our civilization is very competitive; we have marks and evaluations at every moment in our lives. We are rating and we make ratings, and it is normal that people want to be “the greatest.” If we want to be the greatest in loving, in being helpful or being a gift of self, we are going in the right direction—we want to be “the servants of all.” But when we think about domination, taking the first place or having the rights to give orders—we are going in the wrong direction.
“May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” (LK 2: 39-40)
These two sentences covered 30 years of Our Lord’s life with Mary and Joseph in their house. And from this point, every house could be a place for children “to grow and become strong, filled with wisdom.” It could be — because it comes not from the house but from the parents, and the quality of their love will guarantee a good environment for their children.
“A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (MK 4: 24-25)
“Take care what you hear,” because words are powerful—we can “kill” and destroy people or we can heal and strengthen them just by words. “Take care what you hear” could mean: eliminate destruction from your environment (media, messages, movies, naysayers) and invite good, inspiring people, books, programs, and friends, who will lead you to be the best gift of self, the best communicator, the best spouse, parent, and friend. “Take care what you hear.”
“A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (MK 4: 20)
The strategy is simple: “hear, accept and bear fruit.” Every day God speaks to us. Daily readings are like a daily portion of manna which was given daily for Israel in the desert. Every day we have a small portion of the Bible in the Mass which speaks about God’s love to us and gives us strength. Our role is to “hear the word”—read it, and read it again, trying to understand and accept the message, then implement this word into your daily routine, daily activities, “and bear fruit.” Recently we spoke about being “one in mind and purpose,” and doing ”the will of God” which means to be a free, creative, and joyful gift of self—we can hear it, accept it, and bear fruit practicing it.
“The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (MK 3: 34-35)
Unfortunately too often we think about doing “the will of God,” like doing something unpleasant when we need to force ourselves to do the thing we don’t like to do. But “the will of God” is very simple—God wants for us (and from us) only the most important thing: that we will love each other in the most amazing way. He wants us growing in love, being the best gift of self, always free, creative, and joyful. That kind of gift of self makes us like He is and makes us part of His family: “my brother and sister and mother.”
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (MK 3: 24-25)
Yesterday we spoke about unity in mind and purpose. Today Our Lord reminds us of the consequences of division: “and if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Our Lord spent thirty years with Our Lady and St. Joseph, and He knows all about the beauty of a house which is totally dedicated to love, respect, gift of self, and where rituals and dialog are practiced in the most amazing way.
“Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” (1 COR 1: 10)
We know how important is our unity, especially when we are parents. Our children’s safety and comfort depend on the quality of our relationship. When we are “united in the same mind and in the same purpose,” they can grow and live in the most loving environment. To be “in the same mind and in the same purpose,” we need to talk daily, to keep our daily rituals, and to spend time together daily. It helps.
“Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom and cured every disease among the people.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard. Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.” (ACTS 22: 14-16)
As believers and married couples, we are called to “be his witnesses before all.” In a very special way, we are called to be witnesses before other couples, sharing with them the beauty of our vocation, the reason we are called to be married couples, and the mission for us.
“I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” (MK 3: 13-15)
This is the first task for “Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,” and for everybody else from “those whom he wanted,” even in our own time, “that they might be with him.” How often do we think that when we are called, consecrated, or ordained, He is calling us to work for Him—“to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” It took me years to understand that the most important thing is to be with Him, not to work for Him. The same is with marriage; marriage is to be husband or wife, not to have husband or wife.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (Gospel Acclamation)