By By Rev. Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla
The Holy Family of Nazareth
posted 7-Jan-2019  ·  
565 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Lately, there had been a lot of arguments and discussions stimulated by the bullying incident involving a junior high school student from Ateneo de Manila University. A student of a prestigious Catholic school caused all the hullaballoo in the social media. Many netizens got angry and they aired out their anger up to the point when somebody challenged the father of the child to a fight. The guy involved, the bully, got a lot of badmouthing and negative comments which, I believe, he deserved based on the gravity of what he had done to a schoolmate.

On the other side, I agree that if there is somebody to be blamed, it must not be the student involved, not even the school. I maintain the belief that our character as a person is not something that we learned from our school. We are educated in schools, but our education doesn’t define the kind of person that we become later. I believe our personality traits are developed and nurtured within the confines of our homes. This idea is almost proven to be true in that incident when it the identity of the father was revealed. And so, this bully may had been a victim also of his own surroundings. Maybe he just grew up to become the same as the person whom hated most in his life.

We are so concerned about our families and this is very natural for us Filipinos. Now the question is; who is a successful family? What elements must be present in order to have a successful family? Do we need to have many children? Do we need to have fat bank accounts? Do we need to own several cars? Do we need to be on the top of the world and be the envy of everyone for us to be successful? Family, as I see it, to be successful, must be patterned to the only model of a real family and that is the Holy Family of Nazareth. Theirs is not a wealthy, nor a popular and powerful family.

Their family is filled with love for one another even if they lacked the things that this world offers. Their family is filled with the presence of the divine having the only begotten Son of God as their only child. Of course, we must not compare our family to the divine family, but there is one aspect in their family that we can also imitate, and we have the power to imitate. They are so in love and they are so filled with joy! Isn’t it that success is measured by the degree of happiness that we enjoy? And true happiness can happen to us if we have the power to love even the unlovable?

I think this is the challenge to all of us today as we celebrate this feast of the Holy Family. Let us live our lives in service to one another especially those who are in need most of our love and concern.  But how far have we gone in our struggle to live the way that will bring us closer to our savior? Let us not forget that the beauty of the person is hardly seen on the outside, but it is rather seen on what resides in the deepest recesses of his heart. Our Christianity is a life-long process of a life of holiness, based on the love experience that Christ had shown us. Our vocation as a family must be based on this basic rule of life and that is our heeding the call to discipleship, a call to abide by the greatest commandment to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors.

Our obedience to the commandment to love is the real essence of family life. First and foremost, this is also the example that the Holy Family has taught us, but we never learned because we are only capable of loving those who are lovable and worthy of our love. We never tried to go beyond the limits of human loving and to love like the way Christ has loved us all. This is the challenge for all of us today, to learn to love others with the same measure that the divine lover has loved us.

So now, going back to the question, who is a successful family? Can we honestly say that ours is a successful family? Can we proclaim to the whole world with our chin high up in the air that we have a perfect family? Take note that perfection in this context would mean holiness of life. Are we living up to the kind of holiness that Christ is expecting of us, being his disciples?

We all belong to one family and this is the Christian Family rooted in the very family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Maybe we can never be like them in terms of holiness and in the measure of their love for one another but, still, we are being called to imitate them in the best way that we can. In this world, where hate, violence and the violation of human rights reign and seem to grow far and wide day by day, the only thing that can make a difference is our love for one another as a family. This challenge may be so hard to achieve but still, we must try because God is always ready to help us in our weakness.

As parents, we do a lot of sacrifices because we want to give a better future for our family especially our children. Let this goal be our priority and only goal and let us keep our eyes and attention focused on this goal. This will surely help us be able to overcome temptations and this will ensure our success to give our loved ones a better life and a brighter future. In all problems, difficulties, and pains that we may encounter in the future, always ask for the intercession of the Holy Family and everything will be fine.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, keep us all in your loving embrace! Amen.

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