My dear Parishioners,
I hope your domestic churches are doing well physically, emotionally and spiritually. This COVID-19 Pandemic has caused the world population a lot of stress and weariness not only because of the deadly threat of the virus but also the economic devastation it brought. Just here in United States there have been millions and millions of unemployed workers seeking monetary assistance from the government wondering if they could support their families in the next month or so, if this Pandemic stay-at-home mandate continues. There is so much worry and stress in the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters.
In the midst of this crisis the Risen Christ is with us! We are Easter people! We believe in the Good News that Jesus who has risen from the dead won the victory for us against sin and death, and He finally defeated the evil one. God has made us a holy nation, a chosen race and a people called to be His own through Christ our Risen Lord. Let us then trust God who promised to take care of us His people at all times. If the birds of the air can go about their life without worrying where to find their next meal while they fly from north to south, from east to west, and back and forth because God takes care of them, will He not take care of us even more because we are more important than the birds of the air, we are God’s beloved children?
Yes the coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to stay home as mandated by the Public Health Authorities for our safety and to stop the spread of the virus. Our Church leaders even submitted to the lock-down mandate by closing the church and suspending the celebration of the Sacraments because it is the most reasonable means of protecting the life of every person in the parish from the deadly threat of coronavirus. But as a church we have a way of bringing the Mass to the people through internet technology. We are able to live-stream our masses and other forms of prayers and devotion to the majority of the people who have access to internet. We realized through social media that the stay-at-home order brought about the importance of the Domestic Church which is the individual family home, your home!
This leads me to the point I want to share with you. In your Domestic Church, that is your home, you can make your family life “a liturgy”experience. Liturgy as we understand it is the work of the people, the church, and the work of God for us, actively manifested at our celebration of the Holy Eucharist or Mass. To have a happy, healthy and holy Catholic home it is important to develop and grow in our personal relationship with one another. It is a very important value to have a relationship that enables families to create an intimate, loving communion of persons in the home.
The quality of the relationships in our home is the heart and foundation of an authentic family spirituality. St. Pope John Paul II said in his Apostolic Letter “Evangelium Vitae” (The Gospel of Life), that when it comes to family life, “the celebration which gives meaning to every other form of prayer and worship is found in the family’s actual daily life together, if it is a life of love and self-giving” (No. 93).
It is true that parents’ ability to pass their faith on to their children is directly related to the degree to which children experience faith as the source of the warmth in their home. The closer, warmer and more loving a household is, the more children can experience their Catholic faith making a real, practical and positive difference in their daily lives. That makes them want to own it for themselves.
This kind of Christian relationship enables families to provide ongoing formation in the priestly mission of baptism. How?
A priest offers sacrifices that unite heaven and earth and make the common or the ordinary holy. When families work to love each other – not just with the love that comes naturally to them, but with Christ’s sacrificial love – they consecrate all the interactions that go on between them all day long. Everything about the way they work, play, interact, love and even correct each other becomes an opportunity to encounter Christ and grow in holiness.
Here are some suggestions to practice that kind of Christian relationship.
- Show extravagant affection towards each other that allows love to be experienced as incarnate, intimate and personal.
- Try to catch each other being good. Encourage virtue with praise and sincere affirmation.
- Respond promptly, generously and consistently to each others’ needs.
- Parents should be willing to schedule regular one-on-one time to waste (in a good sense) with your children.
- Reflect a loving-guidance approach to discipline that focuses on teaching, accompanying and encouraging good behavior instead of merely yelling, lecturing and punishing bad behavior.
Families who are ready to do these habits and others like them, will be able to celebrate the liturgy of Christian relationship, sowing the seeds of Christ’s self-giving love in their home – seeds that give meaning to every other form of prayer and worship that the family might wish to engage in. Imagine if this is already being done by our families during this stay-home condition, I would not be surprised if the children will be the one to encourage their moms and dads to go to mass and celebrate it with them in joy and gladness!
Perhaps many of our families have grown closer in their Christian relationship during this stay-at-home situation due to the pandemic and I think that is very hopeful!
It is that hope that will give us and our families confidence not stress,
determination not fear, and trust not despair!