December 31, 2017


+  Pax et Bonum!     Peace and goodness to you this day!

Today we celebrate all our families in the Church, including our Church family.   Being together, growing together, learning to take care of each other is absolutely essential.  What happens in a family is absolutely essential to our development.  Families are most important.  The family is the building block of the Church.  If there are no families, there can be no Church.  This is why so many are concerned about the threats and challenges facing families today.  Most likely, in some ways, this has always been the case.  Still today, the threats make it more and more difficult for families, especially young families, to stay together.  There is no such thing as a perfect family.  Even the Holy Family had St. Joseph!  Poor St. Joseph!  You just know that when anything went wrong in that little house or workshop in Nazareth, you knew whose fault it was.  There’s nothing harder than living with a perfect person, unless it’s living with two perfect people under that same roof.  No wonder St. Joseph was a saint!

The primary thing that we need to learn in our families is unselfishness.  You know, in a family, you share it all!   You share the bathroom.  You share the chores.  You share the washer and drier.  You share the TV.  You share the kitchen.  You share the car.  You share the wireless internet.  Maybe that’s the most challenging one today.  You can’t be selfish and be in a family.  It doesn’t work.  Just like it doesn’t work to be selfish and try to be married.  You want to kill your marriage, act selfishly for a couple months.  Same way with your family, you want to destroy your family?  Just keep thinking only about yourself for a little while, and you can do it!  You can take your whole family down.

My brothers and sisters, we’ve got to learn unselfishness, sharing, caring for others, and generosity real quick.  These are positive traits that are more and more missing in our society and culture every day.  And it is not only destroying marriages and families, it is getting plenty of people sent to hell every day.  You want to end up in hell?  Then keep being selfish and proud.  They are the two quickest ways to get yourself sent to hell for all eternity!  It’s true.  We need to get rid of as much selfishness and pride as we possibly can while we are in this world.  Best place to start?  It is in our families and marriages.  If you can learn to be unselfish in your family, then you can learn to be unselfish at work, or at school, or in the neighborhood, or even at church.

And our best role models of this unselfishness?  They’ve got to be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  Look at the love and the selflessness that exemplify in their relationships with one another.  And it was always there!  It never went away.  In our families, we are called to a perpetual selflessness that is always there, and goes on forever!  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph can teach us more about own families than anybody else!  Why don’t we let them?  Why don’t we ask for their help, and their support?  Who better to teach us to care more, and to get out of ourselves?

And actually, our Gospel today introduces us to two other amazing, unselfish people, Simeon and the Prophetess Anna.  Simeon and Anna were amazingly interested in the coming of the Messiah.  They had been given promises that they would see the promised Messiah come into the Temple while they were still alive.  And with a commitment worthy of any family, Simeon and Anna, went to the Temple every day, looking for Jesus.  And today we hear about the day that they find Him!  Their joy is complete!  And yet, one only imagines the sacrifices and effort that they put forth to go to that Temple every day!  Must have been a lot of selflessness involved!

How can we be more selfless in our families, in our marriages, even in our communities?  We’ve got to get out of ourselves and care more for others.  We’ve got to practice that kind of love every day.  We’ve got to put the needs, wants, and desires of others before our selves.   That’s the way that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived.   And it is also the way that Simeon and Anna did extraordinary things for God and for others.   Selfishness never work.  Doesn’t work in a family.  Doesn’t work in a marriage.  It doesn’t work at church.  Doesn’t make you happy or fulfilled.  It won’t get you to Heaven.  It quite possibly will get you to hell.  It won’t make you a better friend.  To be like the Holy Family, we’ve got to get rid of our selfishness.  And there’s no better goal in 2018!

+   May God bless us on this Feast Day,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…  AMEN !!!