We are so smart. We are so smart that we have become adept at outwitting our own intelligence. The concept of family is quite a simple one and it is the cornerstone of society… any society of any culture of any language of any peoples. It is one of God’s greatest created gifts to humanity… and to the animal world as well. We need only look at nature to see it in its natural form and appreciate its simplicity and, yet, we, with our intelligence far beyond that of the animal kingdom, are working hard to destroy its simple nature and God given beauty—a simple beauty given to us by the Creative Genius who is beyond our understanding.
Today we celebrate the Holy Family: Joseph, Mary and Jesus. The word holy means set apart from the ways of the world. This is what God desires of us in His natural, creative form of family.
The word, obedience, is despicable to us, not by definition but by what it has come to mean in our cultural lexicon. To us, it is the antithesis of freedom, that unalienable right given to us by our Creator so that we can freely choose God over Satan; so that we can choose to be holy and united with the Divine instead of slaves to the world. Actually, the word, obedience, does not need to be antithetical to our freedom since it derives from the Latin phrase, ab audire, which means to listen. That’s what Jesus did all His life!
When St. Francis of Assisi assembled the first manger scene, he included the ox and donkey to portray Isaiah’s words, spoken to a people who failed to listen because they thought they were smarter than God: The ox knows its owner and the ass its master’s crib, but… my people does not understand. (Is. 1:3)