HOLY FAMILY: HOLY BEHAVIORS
Rev. John Kha Tran
Little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race come about?”
The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve; they had children and, so all mankind was made.”
A few days later, the little girl asked her father the same question.
The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys, and we developed from them.”
The confused girl returns to her mother and says, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me that the human race was created by God, and Papa says we developed from monkeys?”
The mother answers, “Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about the origin of my side of the family, and your father told you about his side.”
I would like to invite you to reach out and hold the hand of the person sitting next to you.
If the person next to you is a family member, you would feel connected and have a special bond.
If the person is not a family member you would feel a little awkward. You would keep a little space between the two of you.
Now I would like you to think that you and the person you are holding hand are sharing the same faith, members of the same church. You are here to worship the same God. You are going to receive the same Eucharist. And you are going to spend time together in eternity with God.
Now have your feelings changed?
We are bonded to one another by the fact that we are here. We belong to God’s family.
St. John reminds us, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. And so we are” (1John 3:1-2).
Holy families have holy customs. Jesus’ parents go to Jerusalem annually according to festival custom. This is a special trait of the Holy Family. They have established a family custom by going to the temple in Jerusalem annually. They also go to the local synagogue regularly. St. Luke mentions that Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went, according to his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day” (Lk 4:16). Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord (Lk 2:22). Jesus’ family practices their religion because they feel connected with God. They believe that they belong to God. They take up the responsibility to support the temple financially as well. Jesus is not exempted himself from paying the temple tax (Mtt 17:24-27).
Having your children baptized and prepare them for the Sacraments in the Church are holy customs. Marrying in the Church is a holy custom. Going to church on Sunday is our holy custom as well. These are traits of a holy family. It is always a joy for me as pastor to see many of you coming here to worship God every Sunday. It is also a joy to see parents taking their children to religious education in the evenings. Practicing religious customs in the family will insure holiness and happiness.
Living in America means living in a culture of insurance. We have different kinds of insurances: car insurance; house insurance; property insurance; credit card insurance; life insurance; product insurance; merchandise insurance etc. If we stop paying the insurance premium, we will stop being covered. We are at risk. Both Health Care Reform Bills from the House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate are costly. We do not know how the Health Care Reform Bill will turn out; but we know for sure that to achieve this Health Care Reform the nation has to pay a high cost.
To insure the happiness of the family, every member in the family has to pay a premium price. You need to contribute to the premium payment in order to be covered for the happiness and the holiness of your family.
It is a special joy to see parents and children going to confessions regularly.
This is one unique practice of some families in the parish. If you want your children growing up good, teach them to practice this holy custom. Lead them by example by going to confession yourself. This is a secret of becoming a happy and holy family. No family can claim that they are perfect; that they never fail; that they never hurt each other’s feelings. The sacrament of reconciliation will help to correct the failures and to heal the hurts. For years, sitting in the confessional to hear confessions from many people, I can tell you that this sacrament has done no harm to anyone. Instead, it has done many wonderful healings for so many people. When you and your children go to confession regularly, you will make the examination of your conscience. You will identify what have gone wrong in your life? What do you feel sorry for? You pray the prayer of contrition; then you go to confess your sins. To confess your sins means that you want to stop sinning; you want to be better. You want to be nicer. You want to make yourself more likable. If you and your family do this regularly, you will become a holy family. You will be a happy family. This is the insurance premium for holiness and happiness of your marriage. This is the premium insurance for the holiness and happiness of your family.
I Like You
In her best-selling book called, Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott writes about her seven-year-old son, Sam.
At seven, he is separating from me like mad and has made it clear that I need to give him a bit more room. I'm not even allowed to tell him that I love him these days. He is quite firm on this.
"You tell me you love me all the time," he explained recently, "and I don't want you to anymore."
"At all?" I asked.
He said, "I just want you to tell me that you like me."
I said I would really try.
That night when I was tucking him in, I said, "Good night, honey, I really like you a lot."
There was silence in the dark. Then he said, "I like you too, Mom."
It is a blessing to live in a house and be member of a family in which everyone is trying to be more likable and lovable.