Today in the traditional Roman calendar is the Feast of the Holy Family.
I think in most places today where the Novus Ordo is celebrated, you are probably observing Epiphany. It shouldn’t be Epiphany, which ought to be 6 January, but I digress.
Was there a good point or two in the sermon you heard during your Mass to fulfill your Sunday obligation?
Let us know.
For my part, I spoke about how the Lord’s first recorded words, “How is it that you sought me? Did ye not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
Christ came into the world to save us, but also to reveal who we really are more fully to ourselves. He teaches us who we are in every deed and word. His first recorderd words require special attention. How does he start teaching us by words and deeds? What does He first teach? Obedience and meakness. Christ’s first recorded words are a rebuke to his parents. The 12 year old rebukes his parents. However, since it is Christ who rebukes, the rebuke must be flawless and merited and just. Something deep must be in the rebuke which reveals who He is and which reveals who we are. Hence, the rebuke was a reminder reminder to his parents and to us that He is a divine person, not a human person. The rebuke was a way of saying, “You know full well who I AM. Without my willing it no harm can befall me. It is not my time yet. It was not therefore necessary for you to be concerned or sorrowful.” So, as a Divine Person, Christ shows that He is the true authority in the Holy Family and the foundation of its holiness. Mary and Joseph accept this with meakness and silence. The exchange between them teaches us the lesson of trusting God and accepting correction in meakness, humility and silence. Mary was silent and, again, pondered these things. Joseph is always silent.
However, Christ came to teach us in His, our, humanity. So, in the next moment, He is subject to their human authority. Then He is silent (in the pages of Scripture at least) for many years.
Christ teaches about trust, obedience and humility in a rebuke and in personal example. Mary and Joseph teach about trust, obedience and humility in how they handle the rebuke and then in taking charge again of the 12 year old Lord… who has reminded them that He is their Lord. The Creator is silently obedient to His creatures, to teach about obedience and silence. The Head of the Family teaches. The Body of the Family teach us. Head and Body together, one Family, teach us. And a key to the teaching is silence. Silence is the necessary condition of listening, which is the root of obedience, from Latin ob-audire.
How many sins could avoid if we were cheerfully to keep our mouths shut?
When we are rebuked or corrected how do we react? Do we react first with anger? Lash back. Stubbornly defend our turf?
Years later, Christ would again be in the Temple and, this time, truly would be in danger, the kind of danger foretold by Simeon to Mary at another moment when she silently pondered in her heart. Again, in mortal danger, Christ – THE Authority – submitted to human authorities and was silent, like the Lamb lead to slaughter.
Paul told us with the Colossians to bear with one another patiently and with charity. However, he adds that we must forgive and encourage each other not just with outward words but also “ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ – cantántes in córdibus vestris Deo…. singing in your hearts to God by His grace”.
There must be a core of interior joy, a singing in our hearts, in receiving rebukes, just or unjust, in correcting, or bearing wrongs, or forgiving and being patient, each according to our state in life and measure of authority. The Holy Family models holiness and holiness begins with listening to God’s will and, often in silence and with much pondering, abiding and heart singing before speaking.