Placing God’s will at the centre of our family lives

by Paul Yeung

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Genesis 15:1-6;21:1-3

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying:
“Fear not, Abram!
I am your shield;
I will make your reward very great.”
But Abram said,
“O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be,
if I keep on being childless
and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?”
Abram continued,
“See, you have given me no offspring,
and so one of my servants will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to him:
“No, that one shall not be your heir;
your own issue shall be your heir.”
The Lord took Abram outside and said,
“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

The LORD took note of Sarah as he had said he would;
he did for her as he had promised.
Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age,
at the set time that God had stated.
Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his
whom Sarah bore him.

Hebrew 11:8,11-12,17-19

Brothers and sisters:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer
his only son,
of whom it was said,
“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.”
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
They took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Placing God’s will at the centre of our family lives
Paul Yeung
Holy Family

Holy Family by Gaudium Press

It is hard to comprehend that Jesus spent 30 years (out of 33 years of human life) to be with His family before he began His public ministry. It speaks volume about the importance of Family in the eyes of God.

The formation and the nurturing of the Holy Family had tremendous impact on Jesus, preparing Him for His public ministry which was characterized by His compassion and infinite mercy. As much as His family means to Jesus, how important it is for us to reprioritize our lives to place families again the centre of our lives and our society.

Each member of the family has special and indispensable role. We are gifts to one another, and by fully living out the responsibilities entrusted to us, each family member can make our family complete, and that is crucial to preserve the function and integrity of the family.

Learning from Abraham and the Holy Family, we ought to place God’s will at the centre of our family lives. God has entrusted us to one another in hopes that we help one another to fulfill the will of God in our lives. Family is the domestic church. Not only should we not hinder, but we also need to nourish and empower one another to follow the will of God. We cannot do that alone, just as Jesus counted on His family and His extended family (the Church He instituted) to help carry out His mission.

To follow God’s will is never easy. There will be different challenges and uncertainties that await us, as evident in the lives of Abraham and the Holy Family. If we remain focus on doing His will, and persevere with unwavering faith trusting that our Lord is a faithful God and will keep His promises, He will bring us to the Promised Land.

The Holy Family enjoyed no special privileges and was forced to be refugees the moment Jesus was born, yet they preserved the integrity of the family, and subject themselves fully to the law of the Lord. It illustrates that it is possible to follow the model of the Holy Family even in difficult circumstances. May all families strive to follow God’s will and reflect the love and faithfulness of God in our own families.

Spiritual Talk
Fr. Anthony Ho
This Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Family, and Fr. Anthony Ho explains to us the significance of the Family in the life of the Church. Every family that is centred on Christ is a mini-church, allowing its children to learn about God through prayer and sacrificial love, and in turn change society.
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