Finding joy and contentment at home

February 2, 2023 – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

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Joseph and Mary, conscious of their family traditions as well as of the identity of baby Jesus, went to Jerusalem and presented Jesus to the Lord God. This was an act of thanksgiving to the Almighty God for the gift of this child.

Joseph as head of the family naturally led this event for the family to express their gratitude to the LORD GOD. Just like any other Jewish family at that time, it was the duty of Joseph to do this with Mary. The tradition in their culture must have been revered by Joseph. This is the reason why the Gospel of Luke described this event in these words, “when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” The promptness of the head of the family and his consciousness of this practice allowed him to discover more the plan of God.

Thus, this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord brings us now to four invitations as we search to find joy and contentment in our ordinary life at home.

The first invitation is to give thanks. Yes, develop a grateful atmosphere in your family. Consciously say “thank you” to your spouse and children, siblings and parents. Whenever your family gathers whether during a meal, a trip or in a celebration, give thanks to each other and to God, the source of all blessings. Give thanks no matter how small or big the grace that you have received.

Now, this event of the presentation of Jesus also led to two sub-events but equally important. These sub-events were the encounter with Simeon and Anna the prophetess.

Simeon, a devout and righteous man had been waiting for the time to see and embrace the Son of God. And this was fulfilled. The long wait of Simeon was paid with peace and joy. He was able to hold tightly the child Jesus in his arms. That must be a great consolation to him. Having Jesus in his arms, Simeon saw the salvation and the light of God.

With Simeon in the story and with the realization of his dream to see the Lord, this brings us to the second invitation which is– to embrace the Lord and embrace one another.

Our family might be longing for peace, longing for comfort – take courage, the Lord is here as Simeon proclaimed. The Lord is waiting for us that we will embrace him. Peace and joy begin to unfold in our families when we also open our arms in reconciliation and in gentleness, to embrace each other. Let not the violence of our fist and anger in our heart destroy our families and give scar of trauma to your children.

Moreover, Anna the prophetess also waited for Jesus. She was also there to witness this great wonder of meeting the Lord. Anna, like Simeon, immediately recognized that the child Jesus was the promised savior. Anna was so patient and prayerful. These attitudes in her, made her to long more for God. This longing in her heart made her to be open and welcoming. With this, Anna’s heart found comfort and joy. All her troubles and pain had gone away.

With Anna’s witnessing in prayer, this brings us to the third invitation which is – to pray together as a family.

Through our prayer, let us consciously long for God and joyfully meet the Lord in our struggles and problems. To run away from our problems or to hide because of our fears is never the solution. There are those who find comfort in drinking and gambling and other form of vices to forget their problems yet, this kind of response only create more problems. Unfaithfulness, indifference and violence in the family will be nurtured by these kinds of attitudes. We are invited rather to confront our issues and allow the Lord to touch us through our prayers. Gather your family around your altar. Cultivate a family tradition that prays together. Let our families go the Church, and there in our Sacraments, allow the Lord to be with you and to bless you.

Lastly, the fourth invitation is – To develop practices  that will allow you to make a balance in your family life.

Thus, parents play with your children. Find common interests where each one will be able to bond. Develop customs and traditions within your family. For those who can afford, you may take your family vacation. For those who are quite gipit, spend some time in an affordable beach resort. And for those who are really and very gipit, then have your lunch or dinner outside your door step, at least we can say, “kumain din kami sa labas.”

Just be creative because we don’t have to spend so much. Quality time and to develop a healthy family relationship is not about the money we spend or the luxury items we give as gifts to our loved one, but our time and presence that we give to the person we love.

With these invitations, we may hopefully ease the pain of loneliness, comfort the hearts of the troubled, heal the memories of those who are suffering and assure with our presence those who are confused and afraid. Let these invitations on this feast day also touch you and make you more conscious of God’s presence in your family life and in the life of each member of the family who could be undergoing a lot of stress or loneliness this time. Kabay pa.


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