At a recent faith sharing session we discussed how we have grown to want our personal space and to protect our privacy. We reminisce growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when our home doors were opened from sunrise to sunset. Children from neighboring homes would be running in and out throughout the day, making themselves welcomed. There was not a thought about privacy.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. I ponder how family units have become as we grew over the past 50 years. Home doors began closing to one another quite a while back. We became more aware of our personal self as an individual with rights and began drawing boundaries to keep within what is perceivably ‘mine’. It has been a gradual erosion but we can argue that we cannot stand still in time.
Yet we must not allow ourselves be carried by the tides of change without being conscious of what it is doing to us. Through development and progress, we have become more affluent and comfortable. Shelter, clothing and hunger are no longer our main issues. We have time to quarrel over other things. We have enough to barricade ourselves behind the boundaries of privacy.
We close the door to our family home. We hardly know the names of people who live around us, maybe not even our next door neighbor. We mind our own business, tending to the business of taking care of our family. Perhaps it is the way homes are built these days but designs do tailor our lifestyles. Behind the closed door we are tending to family matters.
On this feast day of the Holy Family it is good to look inwardly and ponder about our own family units. The family unit is most important. The Pope reiterated this, something the Church had been evangelizing throughout history. It is a unit of love.
We must be concern if the flow of love is contained only within our unit. We must be careful that the boundary of privacy does not become an excuse for us not to truly love our neighbor. We must come to realize that loving our own family only may merely be an extension of our individual ‘self’. Behind that closed family door, are we protecting or hoarding what is ‘mine’? Have the tides of time push our boundaries of selfishness out further to include our immediate family members?
“If you love those who love you, what credit can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. Instead, love your enemies and do good to them.” (Luke 6: 32)
The world is changing at an accelerated pace. In the middle of this whirlwind something has been a constant throughout time. This is the Love of God and what true love truly means. Our family is holy when we profess this core value in our lifestyle. And we cannot be a holy family when the ways of the Son of God is missing in our family unit.
Our boundary of self must be pushed out even further not only to include family but also neighbors.
Feast of the Holy Family