THE CHOICE OF FAMILY

 MEDITATION ON THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY

What do you think is the most common fear people have today about family life? For the singles, I think it is the issue of ‘choice.’ Choosing the right partner can be as burdensome as it can be exciting. For the married, I think their common fear is how to cope with their choice. The salient tension to marry or remain married has numerous variables, but they all appear to have something in common with ‘choice.’ Christmas draws our attention to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This celebration renews our love and commitment to family life.

God offered man the family at the dawn of creation. The man received family life as God’s choice for him. Thus, man’s bond with his creator is echoed in his joyful embrace of his partner. Adam exclaimed, “At last this is the bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). It was an expression of “Chukwu ma obi m” i.e. ‘God knows my heart.’ Adam’s exclamation as he embraced his wife became a cry of joy and gratitude to God who reaches out to the man in his deepest yearnings, loneliness, and abandonment, even amid material things. The smoke of their warm embrace rises to God like a thanksgiving offering! This family offering of love received God’s approval as He blessed the couple, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).

“Family” chooses us even before we ever think of choosing marriage! Family life is our habitat; it is the basic format of our life. No human relationship or interaction endures unless we take each other as ‘family.’ No nation develops unless the government treats the citizens as ‘family.’ Thus, the gospel was proclaimed by the apostles as a ‘family.’ And any religious organization that does not network as a ‘family’ is not of Christ. Therefore, the choice of the family is fundamental and continuous. We must constantly choose the one that has chosen us, and we must continue to choose the ones FROM WHOM we are chosen! Nevertheless, our capacity to make consistent right choices can be lowered by negative experiences and selfish desires. Left to itself, the human choice will create inconsistency and dysfunctional family life.

Christmas brings salvation to family life. Once more, God declares His choice and approval of family life by coming among us through the Holy Family. His choice sanctifies every family. In His choice for family, our choices are redeemed and given consistency. Interestingly, Jesus comes into the family as an “Offspring.” In Him every Christian marriage is fruitful. Now the smoke of our family embrace rises with Christ… We choose ‘with’ Christ, and we choose ‘for’ Christ, as we respond to the call for family life.

Think about the struggles and joys of the Holy Family! Imagine Mary’s meditations, and Joseph’s fears and silence. Look at their socio-economic situation, their difficult travels, and devotions to God. Still, the beauty of the Holy Family shines out as we behold them complementing each other and approaching the Temple in unity. And Simeon blessed them…(Lk 2:34). As the Baby Jesus united Mary and Joseph, so shall every family remain united if Jesus becomes the center of their lives. The blessing of God has been poured into every family through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we choose Christ Jesus IN WHOM  we are chosen, then it becomes easy to constantly choose the partner WITH WHOM we are chosen, and the family members FROM WHOM we are chosen to become members of God’s family, worthy of the blessings He bestows on His children, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Lagos.
Sunday, December 27th, 2020.
Feast of Holy Family.

www.nwachinwe.blogspot.com

 

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