Monday, December 28, 2015

Mary TV Daily Reflection 12/28/2015

(c)Mary TV 2013  

December 28, 2015
The Holy Innocents
Dear Family of Mary!
Yesterday, on the Feast of the Holy Family, Fr. Leon Pereira gave a great homily on families, holy and not so holy. I have transcribed it, but you can listen to it at  www.marytv.tv in the Daily English Mass Homilies window on the home page (122715)

Fr. Leon Pereira
Homily on Dec. 27, 2015 - Feast of the Holy Family
Now as most of you know about my former life, I used to be a doctor. One of the jobs I had to do around this time of year, was one of the jobs that no one else wanted to do. Because on St. Stephen's Day and on New Year's Day we had one of the highest rates of attempted suicides. So the family didn't want to talk (These are the people who have attempted suicide but survived.) because they felt embarrassed or betrayed. And the staff didn't want to talk to them because it was depressing. So I as the junior doctor had the duty to do this.
Now talking to them is fairly easy, actually, because the people who attempt suicide and survive, are surprisingly willing to chat. And there are lots of common similarities in the things that come up, but one of the things that came up especially on St. Stephen's Day was that they talked about their families. They would mention how they didn't like their family. And you didn't want to say things like, "Join the club!" No one has a happy family. No one has a perfect family. Some people have truly awful families. Really abusive, horrible families.
But there is this pressure at Christmas time to play at happy families. You know, it is like a children's game. You have to pretend to sit together and to eat with people you can hardly stand. And say, "Pass the turkey please", when you might rather stab them in the eye with a knife! (I think Father is exaggerating to make a point!!!!) And then all these tensions come up. There are always fights on Christmas Day when families get together. Things that have been bubbling for years come to the surface.
This pressure to play at happy families is, first of all, unnecessary. And more importantly terribly unwanted. I say these words of Chesterton as a kind of a mantra that consoles me. Chesterton said, "Friends are God's apology for relatives." And that is a very consoling thought to bear in mind.
Now having said that, most people have "kind of" functional families. They get together and they are able not to kill each other. But when we do all this, the pressure to live up to some strange ideal overlooks the obvious, that families are about ordinary things. Family is not about extraordinary things. They are not about people trying to get along, who really can't get along. But rather they are about doing little things for each other, and showing great love in the little things.
Everything about the life of Jesus speaks to us about God. For most of his life, Jesus did entirely ordinary things. Eating, drinking, washing, going to school, learning a trade, praying, going to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage, learning the Scriptures, obeying his parents. God, Himself, spent 30 years on earth doing entirely ordinary things, just like the rest of us. All of this show concretely how God enters in to our mundane world, not as a concession but because He actually thinks that this is a good thing.
Now the paintings of Christmas capture this idea beautifully. In many of them the Three Wise Men come and they present their lavish gifts in sumptuous finery, while the Christ Child is playing with their crowns, or in some of them the Christ Child does not even notice their gifts because He is mesmerized by His toes. He is looking at His toes and playing with them. I think that this is an absolutely lovely thing! You need to be mesmerized by your toes, because we need to think about this. The fact that I have a body and that God assumed at complete human nature, a body and soul, to be just like me! It is absolutely astounding. The Christ Child should be mesmerized by His toes!
Now the essence of a family is that it is natural. You can't choose who is part of your family. They are either your family or they are not. Whether and how much you love them is irrelevant to this definition. When God becomes a baby to make us part of His family, He draws us in, in such a way that He will never cast us out. He chooses not to cast us out, but we make that choice, we choose not to be in it. God forbid.
What makes us part of this family is Baptism. In Baptism, you receive the entire Trinity, Who come to dwell in us. They make us part of the Body of Christ, part of the family of God. And this is why the Baby Jesus yearns...yearns to be part of our lives, with all the mundane things.
So as long as we treat God as something extraneous, then we are more likely to jettison Him when things become hard. So long as God is someone you pray to when things are difficult, so long as God is only someone you pray to in order to ask for things, then it is more likely that when things are tough, you will think, "Why should I bother? Why should I bother since He hasn't given me everything that I wanted for Christmas?" But if God is someone you delight in the way the Christ Child delights in His toes, then you will never abandon Him and He will certainly never abandon us!
God is our family. The Trinity are the only truly happy family. And they want us to share in their happiness. We may not have a perfectly happy family, but we have the promise of one, the perfect family of the saints. And the image of the perfect family that we see in the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph! But remember their holiness comes about from doing ordinary things, eating, drinking, washing, going to school, working, cleaning...this is where their holiness lies and where their holiness shines! And our guarantee of all of this is the Christ Child, mesmerized by His toes! Delighting in the ordinary things or our lives. And He is God's promise to us, Emmanuel, God with us!
He is the reason that the Holy Family are called, HOLY! And indeed, why they are a family. And the reason why we ourselves are called to be part of the most fantastic family ever! In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! Amen!
Thank you, Fr. Leon!!  Our Lady is not unrealistic about our families either. Like Fr. Leon, she knows that our families are torn by division, unforgiveness, bickering, etc. She once said to us:
December 25, 1991 "Dear children! Today in a special way I bring the little Jesus to you, that He may bless you with His blessing of peace and love. Dear children, do not forget that this is a grace which many people neither understand nor accept. Therefore, you who have said that you are mine, and seek my help, give all of yourself. First of all, give your love and example in your families. You say that Christmas is a family feast. Therefore, dear children, put God in the first place in your families, so that He may give you peace and may protect you not only from war, but also in peace protect you from every satanic attack. When God is with you, you have everything. But when you do not want Him, then you are miserable and lost, and you do not know on whose side you are. Therefore, dear children, decide for God. Then you will get everything. Thank you for having responded to my call."

May we all yearn for our Heavenly family, and decide to bring heaven into our families, through love and prayer.
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2015
P.S. Don't forget "Fruit of Medjugorje" tonight! We have a special testimony from a very special man tonight!!

"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II
Be connected!


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