In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Seeking a lady's intercession, let us pray.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.
Good morning, brothers, and sisters and Merry Christmas. Remember, we celebrate Christmas for the entire octave, and then we continue with the season of Christmas. So tomorrow I will end the octave of Christmas with the solemnity of our lady. But today the Church gives us the Feast of the Holy Family. This is the day we celebrate this particular feast. Why in particular? Because this isn't just the Holy family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, in the sense that they're the holiest family, obviously their holiest family. So, you know, you've got the son of God, you've got the immaculate Virgin, you've got his foster father, Saint Joseph, that these are like the three these are the three best people ever. Clearly, their family is always perfect and holy and they're the model for each one of our families. If we really want to be holy ourselves and have a holy family, then this is this is our model. But there's a deeper theology here, a deeper mystery that's important that we contemplate. And we need to ask the question why, when Christ came into the world did, he choose to come into the world through a family? I mean, he could have done it any other way. He's the Lord, right? He could have simply created a new body for himself, like he did with Adam. We might take some dirt, some dust, some clay from the earth, form a new body, give it a soul, and then become incarnate with it. He could have done that, but he didn't.
Everything the Lord does, everything he does, has an important meaning for us. If we can meditate and if we can learn to see it. There is a very important reason why Christ the Savior came into the world in a family. And it's for one simple reason because individual humans don't exist. We should think about that for a minute. Individual humans, persons, they don't exist in the sense that individually, separate from all others, all human nature, all human nature designed by God, is communal, is technically familial or a family. Right? When Adam was first created and he was the only human on earth, he was lonely. He wasn't complete, he was missing something, and he didn't know what it was. Of course, he should have been lonely and incomplete because no individual can stand on their own. They weren't created to, and God made him Eve. Now he wasn't as lonely anymore. But that still didn't complete the image because the very first command God gave to Adam and Eve was fruitful and multiply. Make a family. The family, the three essential members of the family, the father, the mother, and the child. You can have more than one child, but ultimately, it's that three basic paradigms of persons. They embody God himself. They embody that's an important word embodied in their bodies. They reveal God himself. And since we know through Revelation that God is a Trinity, a trinity of persons, He's not a solitude, he's not an individual, he's a trinity of persons.
Saint John Paul the second said very rightly, that God, in the depths of his mystery, is a family. He is a family because it contains within himself fatherhood, sonship, and the essence of the family, which is love. That's what Saint John Paul, the second said. Since God is eternally Trinitarian multiple persons, then when He created us individual persons, he had to do so in a Trinitarian way because he's a trinity and so he designed the family. He designed the father to embody his fatherhood. He and he designed children to embody his son. And he designed woman to embody the Holy Spirit, the love of the Father and the Son. This is the model, the model for each one of our families and in this embodiment of that Trinitarian dynamic, that Trinitarian reality, we have God revealing Himself to us. God does not just reveal himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Yes, he does that, but the person of Jesus Christ never comes alone, right? Either He comes with his mother and his father, or he in the person of his father is the bridegroom of the church. And the church is the mother, and the people are her children. It's always trinitarian. It must be because everything in creation was designed by the Trinity himself. And you know, if you're going to make something, you're going to make it like yourself, right? If you're perfect, if you're completely perfect, then anything you would create would reflect to some degree that perfection. All persons, all persons, all human persons must embody the Trinitarian image and we can't do it alone. We can only do it as a family. That's why in every relationship we ever find ourselves, you will always fit into one of those three roles. You will either be a father, a mother, or a child. It doesn't matter how old you are, it doesn't matter whether it's spiritually or physically. And every relationship, you're going to embody one of these three roles because those are the only roles any human could ever be, because that's who God is. The Father obviously is the origin of fatherhood. The son is the origin of being a child, and the Holy Spirit is the origin of what we call maternity or love. This is why whenever Satan wants to attack humans, he always attacks the family. Because if you can break down the family, then you can break down the image of God in his people and once the image of God no longer exists, then you can recreate it into anything that you want. You can pervert it and twist it. I recently heard and I agree completely that you can tell the health of a culture by how they treat the family, by whether they protect the essential nature and roles of the family as created by God, or whether they perverted and twisted.
We are so perverted as a culture that not only is the family twisted, unrecognizable from God's creation, but individuals themselves can decide which gender they're going to be. I mean, if anything is demonic, that is demonic because now creation has no meaning, embodiment has no meaning. My body doesn't mean anything because I can be a woman if I want to be. That's insane. That's insane. We are what our bodies manifest, right? Little boys grow up to be men, fathers, little girls grow up to be women mothers. There is no choice in this. Why? Because I didn't make this body. I don't get a decision and my feelings are irrelevant. I follow my creation; my creation comes from the creator. Again, you attack this most fundamental nature of human existence. The family itself. You attack the Trinity, the image of God. And this is why conformity to our nature and to the teachings of Christ in this regard is so essential to save the culture. The only way to turn this society around is to save the family. The only way and the only way most of you can save the family is if you individuals that you are fulfill your roles in the family the way Christ intends, and this is ultimately what Saint Paul is saying to us in our second reading from Colossians. He says something. He says, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. The word of Christ, the teachings of Christ is the word. But let this word dwell in you richly. When you think of the word rich, think of abundantly overflowing, right? When we think of wealth or riches, that's what we think. It's not a little money. No, we're tons of money, overflowing money, wealth. This is the word of Christ. He says, let it fill you and overflow and you are richly. Why? Because the word teaches us how fathers are supposed to act, how mothers are supposed to act, and how children are supposed to act. The word is very clear. It doesn't confuse at all what we are supposed to be doing as Christians. And if this word fills me and overflows in me, then I will be trying to live that out in my life, in my family life. And if I'm following these teachings, this word in my individual life, then it will begin to positively affect the people in my family. If I'm a father, it'll affect positively my wife and my children. If I'm a mother, it'll positively affect my husband and my children. If I'm a child, it will positively affect my mother and my father. Either way, it will benefit and bear fruit in your life and the lives of that immediate family around you. And once your family becomes a holy family, then that family can go out. Once those children grow and make more holy families, then their kids can make more holy families. And then what happens over time? Couple of generations. Society is then corrected. Until the family is renewed in the image of the Holy Family, in the image of the Trinity, there is no hope for this culture. None. You should put no hope in it. But this is true throughout history, not only in Old Testament times, but even over the last 2000 years in the history of the church. Whenever society has become so perverted that it perverts the individuals that make up the family, there is no saving that society. Usually, God can do anything. But what God must do is destroy the society and then start over. I don't mean start over like he did with the flood. You know, he promised not to do that again. But whatever good people survive, the Lord recreates Holy families again and they then rebuild a new culture based again, hopefully on our Lord's design. But when Saint Paul tells us to have the Word of Christ well, as dwell in is richly, we need to study. We need to meditate on this word. Otherwise, we're going to forget in the moment our role in the family. And Saint Paul has great teachings on this in the New Testament, in particular Old Testament as well. But there are very clear teachings on how fathers should behave, how mothers should behave, and how children should behave. And he summarizes it here in Colossians quite well as Chapter three cautions Go read it. You can just memorize this stuff and then you're good to go. This is a good summary of everything God tells you to do. That's it. Okay. This is this is the summary, brothers, and sisters. We are speaking, all of us put on as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, be compassionate kindness, be kind, humility, be humble, gentleness and patience. Be gentle, be patient with one another, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. That means putting up with the people you live with, putting up with them, you know, being patient with them and forgiving them their offenses. When they offend you or sinned against you, always be ready to forgive. That's a good summary of the entire Christian life. But he goes on as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do so? Why do I forgive my spouse? Why do I forgive my children and my parents? Because God has forgiven me, not because they deserve it, not because I want to. It has nothing to do with my desires or my feelings because Christ has forgiven me.
That is why I am compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient and forgiving with them, because Christ is that way with me. And over all these put-on loves, Paul says. That is the bond of perfection. You do these things and ultimately that will be loving. You will put love upon your life in your way of acting and let the peace of Christ control your hearts. This is probably one of the keys to following the Word of God to following the commands of God is the peace of Christ. He says, let that control your hearts. Why? Most of us, when we sin, most of us, especially in our relationships, is because our feelings get hurt, our emotions get stirred up and we react instead of thinking and acting. But if my heart is always at peace, if the peace of Christ is always controlling it, then I never lose control. I'm always making the right decision in the right moment because I can think clearly and peacefully. But if the peace of Christ isn't controlling my heart, what happens? It gets fearful and afraid and upset and hurt. And then it inclines me to act in an imperfect and unloving way. How is it that the peace of Christ controls my heart? Ultimately, the peace of Christ is given through the forgiveness of sin, and that comes primarily through the sacraments, baptism, and confession. You want the peace of Christ to grow up in your heart and your home. Go to confession. That's where the peace comes from. When you know that you're forgiving of all your sins, you'll be at peace when you're not at peace, probably because you've got some sins that you need forgiven to go to confession and get forgiven. Then he again goes on to say, the word of Christ may dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom. You teach and admonish one another, saying psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Again, a very good point there. The singing of songs. What kind of music do you listen to? What kind of songs do you sing in your spare time? Not just on Sunday or during Mass? Obviously. Make sure we have good music here, you know, good songs, but are you singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs Throughout the day? The word of God tells you to. Are you doing this? no. I just turn on the radio. yes, because that's great music. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Do everything for Jesus in the name of Jesus giving thanks to God and then Paul summarizes his teaching on the family again. It's explained in more detail in other passages. Ephesians five is one. But he says Wives. What is the role of the wife? The mother in the home to be subordinate to her husband, as is proper in the Lord subordinate under the ordination or authority of another place. Both Peter and Paul say wives obey your husbands because your husband represents Christ who is head of the church the husband is the head of the home, the head of the family. Next, he says, husbands love your wives and avoid any bitterness toward them. You know, this is really the surprising line here in the Scriptures that husbands should love their wives and avoid any bitterness towards them because in the entire history of the church and throughout the known world, even to this day, everyone has always recognized that the husband is the head of the family. It's always been known. But what hasn't always been known is that this headship should be one of love and service and not lording it over those over whom he has authority.
That's what Christ teaches us. There's never been a different teaching in any culture, in any religion. The husband is always head of the family, the home he always is. When Paul reminds wives to be subordinate to their husbands, they would have been, yeah, okay, fine. Yeah. That's what's expected of us. No surprise there. But the husband should love his wife and avoid any bitterness towards her that would have shocked them in another place. He explains. Love your wives as Christ loved the church. That's what that looks like. He's saying Husbands be willing to die for your wives. How many husbands throughout every religion and culture would be willing to do that? That's the surprise. Children are told to obey their parents in everything and everything. Not in some things or in most things’ children and so as long as you are under their authority, so presumably. Well, because of the laws of this country, that means if you are under their authority or even if you're 18 years old or 19 years old and they're still paying your bills or for your college, you're under their authority until you get out from under them, pay your own bills and lead your own life. Obey them in everything and everything. Absolutely everything they say. And then lastly, he ends with another teaching for us fathers. Fathers do not provoke your children. Do not provoke your children, so they may not become discus urged. We have this ability as fathers because of our sometimes-unrealistic expectations to provoke our children and cause them discouragement. We're commanded not to do this or commanded not to do this. Basically, fathers be kind, be gentle, be humble, be patient. Now, again, this is the let's call it quick and dirty summary of the Holy Family. One of the reasons we don't understand this design and why this is the only and correct way to live in the world in any type of family life is because we don't understand God. I'll just kind of try to tie it up with one more reflection based on this, why men and women are so different and why our roles in society and in the family are so different. God created men to embody again in their physical bodies to manifest his power and his authority. That's what masculinity was designed for, to represent God's power and authority. That's why men within God's design of the family, they're the ones with the greatest power and the greatest authority. And even biologically, clearly, they have more power. Anyone who has power has authority, they go together. Whatever anybody tells you, there is an intrinsic difference between biological men and biological women. Women were designed and created by God to embody God's love and God's humility. Now, from what we know about the Lord, what is more important to him? Power and authority or love and humility in God's own mind and teachings? Does God say I'm the God of power, I'm the God of authority? No, He doesn't identify with those attributes. He says, I'm the God of love. I am love. Which means if you had to choose between men and women who embodies God's nature and its highest perfection, it's the ladies. It's the women, not the men. So why would God put men in charge of the family when they don't embody his love in the same way that women embody it? You see, our Lord intentionally made a distinction in these two expressions. Does that mean mean that men don't have to be humble in love because they don't embody it? No, of course they must. It's part of being like God. Does that mean women don't have authority and power because they're women? No, of course they do. We're told that they have authority and power over their children, but that's not what they embody or express within their bodies, in their roles in the family. Our Lord intentionally separated these two attributes between masculine and the feminine because there is an order to reality. In order to reality, well, you get a little more theological for just a moment. Try to follow in God in the eternal God, who is the first person? It's the father. In the name of the father, he's always the first person. And the father. Surprise, surprise. With that name, right. The father of the Trinity embodies, if you will, the power and the authority of God. Now, the son, which is the second person, is the image and likeness of the father. On some level he reflects that power and that authority as well. But the third person, the last person of the Trinity, so to speak, is the Holy Spirit. He is the love between the Father and the Son in God himself. The third person of the Trinity is the person that embodies the whole Trinity in its most perfect way. Since God is Love and the Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and the Son. That means the last person of the Trinity, again, so to speak, is the one who manifests or embodies what God sees as his greatest attributes, his love. Since that is what we know to be the truth about God. Then when He created human beings in his image and likeness, he had to embody in them the same truth and it doesn't mean that we're not all called to love. Of course, we are. That's the highest of goods. But that doesn't mean that's each of our roles. We all embody a different role, and together we complete the Trinitarian image in being a family. This is what we are defending as Catholics by our very lives. It's the truth of the trinity of our God. This is something worthy to die for, to die for Christ. Clearly, the highest of deaths, but to die for any of the truths of Christ is just as noble. For whatever sacrifice God asks of us regarding living out this truth, we need to pray for the grace to be willing to offer it. And most of the time God is not going to ask you to physically die, to embody this truth, to be a father the way God expects you to be a father, to be a mother, the way God expects you to.
To be a mother, to be a child, the way God expects you to be a child. But you must die to yourself, to your pride, to your way of wanting to do things. You have to die to that. That's the only way. And again, if you want to save this country, this culture, this is the way you sacrifice yourself by allowing the Word of God to dwell in you richly, to fill you up and overflow from you so that everything you do each day within your relationships is an imperfect conformity to the teachings of Christ.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Homily begins at 23:10