December 29, 2019 – Feast of the Holy Family
Click here for the readingshttp://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122919.cfm
Homily by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR – a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary in South Korea
How many of you here have experiences with adopted children? Be might you an adopted child yourself, or have adopted a child in a family as son/daughter, or brother/sister or relatives. Child adoption has never been an easy experience within the family. It entails a lot of adjustments and complications not only to the adopted child but also to the parents and the whole family as well.
I remember once I counselled a couple who have no child of their own and have decided to adopt a child. As the child grew and eventually learned that she is adopted, they observed that their child becomes problematic and difficult. I advise them to try to take care of the child even more, as well as to acknowledge the child not as adopted- someone taken on, which connotes someone who is “sabit o sakay lang” but as chosen “pinili”, as someone they have chosen as their own among other abandoned children. The child might not be their own but the child is whom they have personally chosen as their own. Essentially, the child then is chosen – the one they have chosen, not only adopted.
Either by natural birth or adoption, as a child, we are not only taken and accepted but more so Chosen “Pinili” by our own parents and family. Thus as parent, your child then might be or not be your own, but basically you choose your child. We are chosen children then, not only of God but also by our own fathers and mothers, and our own family as well.
Christmas reminds us that God comes into our lives as a Child – not as fully grown man or as superman or as god, but as a poor child on a manger.
For a child to live and grow, God’s child needs a human parent and family like any other child. Jesus Christ, God’s son has to be taken, accepted, adopted and above all chosen by human parents and family. He grew up then in, with, through his family who adopted and chosen Him to be their own. And In a Family Jesus was born, loved, lived and have grown as a Person. Not in a Monastery or Convent.
Once I receive a Christmas card that say: “A child is born in our midst”. Well that’s okay because that is the core message of Christmas. But what made me suspect then was that card was sent from the sisters’ convent. Imagine sisters’ sending me a message that a child is born in their midst”. Me batang isinilang sa kanila. Hmmm??? Yes, God’s son has a family, a foster parents and family who chose Him to be their own.
Today we honor the Holy Family, the very first family who welcomes and willingly accepts the Immanuel “the God with us” into our lives. Mary and Joseph are the very first parents who adopted and chosen the child of God Jesus to be their very own as member of their family. Our gospel today gives us a description on how Mary and Joseph do their best to parent the child Jesus into their own lives as they observe their own local cultural and religious traditions, while conscious of the mysterious unique experience of adopting and choosing God’s blessing into their lives. Yes, with Mary and Joseph they are and become a normal human family; but with the child Jesus, they are and become a HOLY family – now member of God’s family.
Honoring the Holy Family on Christmas season posts the on-going ever-present challenge for us, like Mary and Joseph to adopt and parent Jesus, God’s child by choice into our lives now and always. By willingly accepting Jesus into our lives to be our own, part of our own lives as family and community, we come to know also that we also are and becoming God’s adopted and chosen children and people, part of His Holy Family. Sa ating pag-angking kay Hesus na ating kapamilya, tayo ay naging at maging ka-anak rin ng Dios at kamag-anak ng anak ng Dios. As we consider Jesus as our chosen family member, we are and become God’s children and Jesus family.
With the Holy Family, this Christmas season, and the coming New Year remind us always that God comes to us as a Child, who can brings us a lot of joys as well as uncertainties, but above all another chance to live our lives for the better, as His willing chosen parent and family. Have a Grace-filled Christmas and New Year to all us. Amen.