Sunday, December 28, 2014
Holy Family Sunday
Today is Holy Family Sunday and the sermon in the Seoul Bulletin wants us to see an aspect of family life we overlook. A celebrity who because of some irregularities was absent from the limelight for some time made an appearance on the stage and told the audience: "When I was in trouble it was only my family that gave me support and strength." When the priest hears these and similar words he feels uncomfortable. Often we reduce the meaning of family to suit are special understanding of what a family is. It becomes a shield to protect ourselves and to exclude others.
From whom do we get our biggest scars? The hurts usually come from those that I know best, from those nearest to me. Those who are not close to us, even if the words are meant to inflict great harm, they don't do much damage. We have little difficulty in ignoring them. But it is different with those close to us: violence in the family, conflict between the parents, indifference to the others in the family is another matter. Violence in the family is so embarrassing one is not able to speak about it. Many psych themselves to say it is no serious problem but the scars that are inflicted, contrary to what we may think, are many.
Not far in the past we had many families living together in rented homes in the same building. Provided the owner was a decent person, they would all live in harmony concerned with each others needs.
Today with the advances that have been made, many of the needs have disappeared. But the members of the priest's generation remember those days and how the families lived harmoniously with one another.
We have become independent of others with the technological advances. Neighbors have disappeared. We have become oblivious of our surroundings. We are only concerned with ourselves and our families. When we watch the news the problems of others have no connection with ourselves. He concludes the sermon wondering if we are not just interested in taking care of the needs of the family and all else is immaterial.
We call this the feast the Holy Family. Confucianism has influenced our society to a great extent and the virtues of humanness and etiquette have helped to make the family strong. Filial piety was strongly emphasized. Christianity has introduced God, and his providence, by remembering we are members of many other communities helps to make our families holy.