By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother, my sister, and my mother.” — Matthew 12:50
Time for family reunions
The month of April has been designated as the time for our family to have an annual reunion. All my uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews would come together to worship as one family, share each other’s experiences and eat together. We do this every year to get to know each other better, to strengthen our bond of love and care for each other especially in times of need. Members of the family would take turns in hosting the activity. But this time, it will be held in a beach in Luna , La union.
In the reunion activities, we try to remember our parents and grandparents who have gone ahead of us, sharing with each other the lessons learned from their lives that would inspire and motivate us even more to live our lives worthy of their expectations. We also share with each other our failures and successes in life as well as our future plans. At a time when Filipino families are facing various challenges financially and morally, family reunions are very much needed to strengthen family ties.
With the phenomenon of Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipino families try to maintain and strengthen family ties through the cyberspace. Members of the family would communicate with each other through cell phones or through the internet.
Jesus and His Family
Now, Jesus Christ our Lord also lived in a culture with strong family solidarity. Jewish parents are supposed to be responsible in shaping their children’s character and in teaching them skills to earn a living. Children are also expected to respect and to care for their parents. As a matter of fact, the Jewish people believe that a person who is disrespectful to his or her parents will be cursed and will not live a long life.
In our text for reflection, Jesus’ mother, brothers and sisters were looking for him. Apparently, since Jesus started his ministry, he would seldom come home; no wonder his relatives were quite worried. There was even a rumor that he was already out of his mind. And so, they had to look for him. When Jesus Christ our Lord was informed about it, he pointed to his disciples and said: “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother, my sister, and my mother.” [Mt. 12:50).
Beyond family solidarity
Sociologists are saying that the family is the smallest unit of our society. Hence, a strong family would mean a strong nation. However, Philippine experience would show us that families can be very selfish and greedy. Look at the few families who rule our country and control our country’s wealth and resources – the Marcoses, the Aquinos-Conjuangcos, the Ayalas, the Lopezes, the Arroyos, the Sy’s, the Tans, just to name a few. As we all know, the concentration of the greater wealth of a nation in the hands of a few families will economically deprive, indeed, thousands of other families.
Hence, Jesus Christ our Lord talks about a bigger family beyond our family solidarity. It is a kind of family relations based not on blood but on faith, hope, and love for others. Jesus said, “Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother, my sister, and my mother”(Mt. 12:50). What the Father in heaven wants has been concretely manifested in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ our Lord among the poor, the sick, the sinners, the weak and oppressed.
Family reunions, therefore, are not only meant to affirm our family solidarity in terms of blood relations, but rather to affirm our family solidarity in terms of our ministry to other families, especially those who have less in life. # nordis.net