A few years ago, a study was undertaken to find the U.S. city with the lowest incidence of cancer and heart disease. The winner was Rosetto, Pennsylvania.
Soon experts descended upon the city expecting to see a town populated by non-smokers, people who ate the correct food, took regular exercise and kept close track of their cholesterol.
To their great surprise, however, the researchers discovered that none of the above was true.
They found instead that the city’s good health was tied to the close family bonds that prevailed within the community. This suggests that there is much to be said for a close and loving family relationship.
Do you love your family?
We all do.
After 12 years, my wife celebrated Christmas in the Philippines.
She was so excited that she prepared everything a year in advance.
One of the most awaited event was #TeamApolonia reunion, a gathering of siblings, cousins and grandchildren of Nana (my wife’s grandmother).
It was my first family reunion.
I never attended a family event from both of my parents’ side.
It was a joy to celebrate an event that honors the eldest member of the family by the presence of everyone.
We had a family lunch, a bingo game and an exchange gift.
Next year, Nana will be celebrating her 85th birthday and everyone is so excited.
Today, the Catholic church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family.
We are here to offer all the members of our own families on the altar for God’s blessing.
The first reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” Sirach reminds children of their duty to honor their parents – even when it becomes difficult.
Pope Francis once said that as a child, he heard a story of a family with a mother, father, many children and a grandfather. The grandfather, suffering from Parkinson’s illness, would drop food on the dining table, and smear it all over his face when he ate. His son considered it disgusting. Hence, one day he bought a small table and set it off to the side of the dining hall so the grandfather would eat, make a mess and not disturb the rest of the family.
One day, the Pope said, the grandfather’s son came home and found one of his sons playing with a piece of wood. “What are you making?” he asked his son. “A table,” the son replies. “Why?” the father asks. “It’s for you, Dad, when you get old like grandpa, I am going to give you this table.”
Ever since that day, the grandpa was given a prominent seat at the dining table and all the help he needed in eating by his son and daughter-in-law. “This story has done me such good throughout my life,” said Pope Francis.
“Grandparents are a treasure,” he said. “Often old age isn’t pretty, right? There is sickness and all that, but the wisdom our grandparents have is something we must welcome as an inheritance.”
A society or community that does not value, respect and care for its elderly members “doesn’t have a future because it has no memory, it’s lost its memory,” Pope Francis added.
On the other hand, the children serve as the joy of their parents’ young years and the help and comfort of their old age, but above and beyond that, they are a gift for which their parents are accountable before God, as they must, in the end, return these, His children, to Him.
Let us pray for the grace of caring for one another in our own families, for each member of the parish family, and for all families of the universal Church.
May God bless all our families in the New Year.