Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our Responsibility as the Human Family

I see those bumper stickers sometimes about "we are all the human family" or "we are all members of the human family" well, yes, we're not dogs or dinosaurs so I suppose that is true. I'm even willing to grant that we are all, as a collective society, joined together. I think people stop short, though, when they forget that, as a family, we have a responsibility to all the others in the group.

Today is a uniquely special day. It is both the feast of the Holy Family (which falls on the first Sunday after Christmas unless Christmas is a Sunday and then it falls on Dec 30th) as well as the feast of the Holy Innocents. The combination of these two feasts, on this day, at this time in my life, is not lost on me.

You see, the Holy Innocents is the feast on which we remember all those innocent baby boys, slaughtered on the command of one man. Herod was the king of Judea and, after the birth of Christ, he was visited by the Three Wise Men who were on their way to visit the newborn king of the Jews to pay homage. Herod, fearful and filled with rage, ordered the massacre of all baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and it's vicinities. Jesus, with the Holy Family, escaped into Egypt. The little boys of Bethlehem did not have that luxury.

What an amazing example of how one action, by one selfish/deluded/frightened/you add the adjective individual, can wreak havoc on an entire group of people. I walked into the school room and saw "my decisions affect others" written on the chalkboard. This was a writing punishment for #2, several days ago, but I left it up in hopes of reminding anyone who reads it that we don't live in a vacuum. Our choices and actions will affect many people we know and even some we do not. We have a responsibility to make choices that are in keeping with the true law that is written on our hearts and that do the least damage to those around us.

I'm also thinking about the immediate family...those who are married, with or without children. I think the worst thing we can do for the future of the world is live this life as if it were ours alone. When we make decisions, act on our feelings, do what we want at any given moment, there is a whole generation behind us watching and learning (whether we intend it or not). We show them that marriage is not a lifetime thing, that families don't need to spend time together, that "quality time is better than quantity time". Relationships are fleeting. Don't expect that someone who is with you today will necessarily be there tomorrow. Don't get to know anyone too deeply because it's not about that. It's about who best serves our needs today. (see? I didn't even mention FB)

Sorry to rant. Today is a beautiful feast of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the ultimate on whom we should strive to pattern our own families. They faced trial, adversity and death and stood with one another. I sometimes think about how Joseph must have felt, being in a family with these two perfect people. I'm sure it was a challenge but, he rose to the occasion. Perhaps that was his cross; being the least perfect in the Holy Family. He's still a Saint, though, so there is hope for all of us.

We are headed to Mass, the cemetery (to remember some of our human family and pray for the babies lost) and then to the creche (to celebrate and ask the intercession of the Holy Family). We will pray for all of our family and the entire "human family" - let us all start living as if we have a bigger responsibility than what we "feel like" today. Love one another, ask for forgiveness and forgive one another, expect great things of one another, be thankful for what you have and where you are.

Holy Family, pray for us!

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