“As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, ‘On your way! Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of Sodom.’”
God’s love gave us angels as protectors and friends. My Guardian Angel is all the time “at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.” Sometimes we have to allow them to take us ”to safety outside the city.” Vacations are perfect to focus on our relationships: “take with you your wife and your children” and go away, go “to safety.”
“I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.” (ACTS 15, 6)
We can observe the beginning of the daily life of the Church, which needs to discuss matters when there is something difficult to understand, like today’s councils or synods.
In these months our Church is preparing for a Synod about marriage and family in October: “to see about this matter.” What we can do is to pray for the synod’s fathers to help them receive all the wisdom from Heaven to see clearly, with respect to God’s law, and to protect the truth. This is always the best response to Our Lord’s wish: “remain in me—to bring more fruits.”
“Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.” (Col 3: 12-14)
The virtues listed above are important in every relationship, but absolutely necessary in family life: “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”… We have some idea of their importance and life changing role after the Love and Life Programs. When forgiveness and tenderness complement each other, love is “the bond of perfection.”
Today we celebrate the feast of The Holy Family, which is our model of the family as the domestic church, where everybody is concerned with the happiness of others and everybody is a total and sincere gift of self. We can invite the Holy Family into our families and our homes and ask them to help us to be like them.
“Let the peace of Christ control you hearts, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.” (Lk 1:50)
We have many occasions to meet Our Lord’s mercy in everyday situations. He comes with His grace not only in the Sacraments (like Holy Mass or the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation) but also in daily situations: a child’s smile, a friend’s phone call or a spouse’s hug and “I’m sorry” after a misunderstanding. Sometimes our activity brings the touch of His mercy to our relatives or friends. His mercy is in every generation, and He looks for every occasion to show it.
“O King of all nations and keystone of the Church; come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!” (Gospel Acclamation)
“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” (Lk 1: 36-37)
God started His mission of humankind’s redemption with the most beautiful miracles within the family: first Elisabeth and her “impossible” pregnancy and later Mary, Our Lady. The family is the first place of redemption and the first place to receive the real presence of God. He chose the family for His Son, who spent 30 years with Mary and Joseph to prepare Himself for His mission.
“O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!” (Gospel Acclamation)
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.” (Mt 1: 18)
Jesus Christ, “the son of David, the son of Abraham,” living God from living God, begotten, not made … has a book of genealogy. He chose to be like us: to have ancestors, a history and a family. And He left detailed evidence of “how the birth of Him came about,” just like you and I. And if you are an expecting mother—jus as your child will have. It’s all because His presence among us IS REAL: He chose to be with us as a man to love us in the way that we understand.
“O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3: 20)
He comes to our houses; He does not wait on His throne and in His majesty but stands at the door and knocks. And His knock is very delicate; it is possible to drown out the knocking when our TV is too loud or our computer is working on top speed. He waits for our invitation, but when invited He will enter our house and dine with us and will be with us as a very special guest.
“God loved us, and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.” (2 Tim 4: 17)
We are chosen by Our Lord not because we are strong, useful, talented or flexible. We are chosen by God’s love because we listen to Him, we are open to His call and trust Him, not ourselves. We’ll receive everything we need to complete our mission. When we are sent to proclaim the Gospel in our families or when our mission goes beyond the oceans, Our “Lord stands by me and gives me strength.”
“I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the LORD your God, so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.” (Jer 26:13)
The Church will never get tired of protecting us. It does not defend us from God, but from the life where our “ways and deeds” are far away from His. Reform and listen, listen and reform. Make a daily ritual of some minutes with the Bible, learn how to listen to Him. Listen to His word daily and learn how you can inspire your family life and workplace with God’s presence. Reform and listen – a simple rule for an outstanding life.
“I will look after my sheep, says the Lord, and I will appoint a shepherd to pasture them, and I, the Lord, will be their God.” (Entrance Antiphon)
“Through Him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2: 21-22).
We are “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit”. When we meet others, we can worship together. All of us, but especially families who “in him … are being built together.” When He is invited personally to be a part of the family and the family prays together, “through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord.” Believing families determine the future of the world.
“You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.” (Gospel Acclamation)