YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
HOMILY THEME: THE OBEDIENT FAMILY
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
HOMILY: (Mt. 2:13-15, 19-23) Feast of the Holy Family
In today’s Gospel, Feast of the Holy Family, the angel of the Lord kept on guiding Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to elude the threat of Herod to kill Jesus. Mary and Joseph had developed that faith in the Lord that they were willing to obey no matter how difficult were the circumstances. During those days, traveling from one place to another, much more from one country to another was an ordeal. Walking by foot and riding a camel or donkey were mostly only the transportation available. That obedience allowed God’s will to be fulfilled.
The holy family is an obedient family. They seek God’s will and obey them when revealed. There were questions but in the end, they accepted it with all humility. Mary did that in the annunciation and in rearing Jesus to become a good Jew. Joseph also had his share of struggling with God’s will. Being a just man, he followed God’s will in faith and proceeded to team up with Mary to raise Jesus to be a good man. Jesus obeyed the will of His Father unto death.
Obedience to the will of God is basic in a Christian. But the question always is how to know God’s will? Revelation direct from God is the best. But God speaks also through the Church. Church leaders have had so much experience in communicating with God and She knows His teachings and ways. Events as signs and symbols may also be good sources. Except the first, the rest require a certain skill called DISCERNMENT. St. Ignatius of Loyola made a lot of reflections, meditations, and contemplations on this. He is considered an expert on this exercise of knowing the will of God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we try to evaluate situations and make decisions as directed by the good spirit.
The choice between the good and the evil is easy. But to choose between two goods is complicated and maybe tricky. The evil spirit has the capacity to lure us to an initial good which would later be evil. As they say, “the devil is willing to receive communion to make us commit sin.”
Going to Sunday mass and all other acts of holiness are not automatic. At times we will be faced with a situation when we need to discern. What if one Sunday evening a relative visited or called you and told you that an aunt is dying in a hospital and all relatives were being asked to pay her a visit right then? You will miss mass if you visit. You will miss the opportunity to visit the request of a dying relative if you go to mass. This is a case of discernment. What is God’s will in this situation?
Determining God’s will, in terms of difficulty and ease, differs in every individual. The more experience you have with God, the easier it is to decide. Also, it is good to seek the counsel of “experts” like priests and experienced spiritual counselors. They would know better God’s will and the devil’s traps. In the end when left on our own, sincere prayer is enough.