December 26, 2021
The author of this book in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, lived in the second century before Christ and was a pius Jew who was trying to show his people, in spite of all their trials, tribulations, doubts, fears, etc., how they were to live. It can and does help us to direct our lives today.
As we listen to the words proclaimed today, we need to pray for the courage to, once again, not get defensive and say these words don't apply to me in our world today. But they are words that can call each us to look at ourselves even more deeply, and then call us to conversion, especially if the words are difficult for us to hear.
For sure, all families have trials and difficulties and we can often, when in the midst of these problems ask, why us, Lord.
How can we possible respect each other in these situations?
While Paul was in prison in Rome, he hears that the faith of the Colossians, in the midst of trials and difficulties, was being threatened, and he writes this letter to them, giving them some practical help when their faith was under attack.
Early Christians experienced their community as family. They needed each other.
Often it is in the family where we need to pray to be able to put Paul's words into action. He writes about having compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving one another, etc; they are easy to talk about, but at times difficult to put into action in our own families. Families are not just where we grew up, but they can also be the family of our neighborhood, our family at work, our family of friends, etc. Yet these qualities that Paul writes about are exactly the qualities God has toward us at those times when we fail, when we are not the presence of Christ that we are called to be; in other words, the times when we sin.
Sirach, as we hear in the first reading says...
The family is the place where we can learn of these qualities of God, these qualities that Paul speaks in his letter to the Colossians. But as the Colossians were under attack, so are we in the modern world. The family is no longer seen as the very necessary place to discover God and for God to work in us. It is in the family where we can truly see ourselves, especially our failures, our sins, for which we need to pray for conversion to love the enemy even when at times it is a family member.
Yet we see more and more that the world says that today a strong family is the place to teach us all those qualities which St. Paul wrote about.
The world seems to indicate that both parents need to work so there will be more money, more security, etc. for the family. Trust money, not God.
Or it says for the family members to break up and someone leave when the going gets rough.
It takes real courage to put the family first and to see it as the place God's work begins in each of us, love and conversion.
Pack up quickly and leave. Leave your way of making a living, your traditions and language, your relatives, friends, and neighbors, etc..
And Joseph trusts and the Holy Family leaves their security and flees. Wow!
And we think we have problems,
in the family or individually!
This gospel helps us to see that even the Holy Family, even holy Joseph and Mary, had to face great struggles...but they trusted God.
Do we really think that as Christians we will not have problems, difficulties, and struggles. Difficulties can certainly show and teach us how much we trust God.
And if we discover that we have very little trust, then we know what we need to pray for, for ourselves.
Convert me Lord so that I will trust all that comes my way. Give me the grace to have the same trust that was in the Holy Family, everyday, in every situation and with all the people in my life.