This Lent I have been meditating on the desire to become meek and gentle. Jesus went to the cross for the salvation of His human family like a meek and gentle lamb going to be slaughtered. He was obedient and silent unto death, death on a cross. Many people simulate going to family functions for holidays as going to be slaughtered, and it makes me very sad. I am blessed with a wonderful family where everyone gets along. But being in Family Ministry for many years I know that our family is not the norm.
The reality is that some families are estranged and there are some family members who spend holidays alone, depressed, and hurt. Some families that typically do not get along, still get together but there is an unspoken tension in the air. And then there's the fact that at most holiday family gatherings there are always murmurs of who didn't come, how someone looked/acted or how their food tasted, etc. I am so guilty of this.
Jesus paid the price for what I possess, my sinful human nature. Jesus bought it, but I still hang on to it. It reminds me of the Gospel story about the sad rich man who walked away from Jesus because he possessed many things and did not want to give them up in order to follow Jesus and inherit Heaven. Most families are stressed at get-togethers because we possess uncharitable thoughts, criticisms, hurtful memories, high standards, guilty consciences, grudges, a sense of being attacked and the need to be defensive, and we hold on to them. How do we leave them at the cross this Good Friday so that we can ressurect in new life on Easter Sunday free of these "riches" to maintain? Jesus says His burden is light and he carried the cross! That's how heavy all of these possessions are. Let's let them go and celebrate new life this Easter! How can we do this?
Blessed are the poor in spirit! We want to be rich with the ways of the Holy Spirit in virtues and poor in the ways of the world with self-concern. St. Joseph and Blessed Mother were the poorest of the poor in worldly spirit. They serve Jesus and their neighbors obediently and silently throughout scripture. If only we could be obedient and love God and everyone else no matter what, and keep our mouth shut. That's a tough one for me! Thus, my prayer this Lent for the grace to become meek, gentle and silent even unto death! Being like Jesus and following Him does not mean that we will not feel pain and be hurt by those we love. Jesus did feel pain at the crucifixion but remained silent because it was for a good cause -- the salvation of His family. I am quite sure that if we do the same, we can win hearts and souls with Jesus. It is truly worth it, for the poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; not just for us but hopefully for our entire family! How wonderful would that be???!!!!
The purpose that God gave us a family is for support, not for stress. By the way, this includes in-laws too! At Mass on Monday, the priest preached about the fact that Jesus did not come to condemn us, but to support us and lift us up. The priest then encouraged us to do the same with our family; do not condemn but support and lift one another up. This will mean not giving in to any temptations to want to be "perfect" in a worldly sense of being critical and judgmental, but desire to be "perfect" as our Heavenly Father is perfect. If we give in to unkind thoughts, they are going to come out of the mouth or come out through our attitude which fills the environment with toxins rather than with the peace and unity that comes from the Holy Spirit.
The love of the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. Their family love brings the life of the Holy Spirit. So to be rich with the Holy Spirit, we must have family love; both divine family and human family. If we do our part, the words we speak will be of the Holy Spirit and we will speak as Jesus spoke and His presence will be felt. Jesus makes all things new! I pray that all families will experience the joy of having one another to support and lift each other up. Amen.
BLESSED EASTER TO ALL FAMILIES!!!!