The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? 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Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? 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The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? 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A Place to Learn

December 27, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

December 27, 2015
Luke 2:41-52
Fr. George Smiga

A woman was sitting on her front porch when a young boy from the neighborhood came furiously riding down the sidewalk on his tricycle. He passed her house, went to the corner of the block, turned the corner and was out of sight. A few moments later, he turned the corner at the other end of the block and rode again past her house as fast as he could. This happened several times. Finally, as he was passing the house yet again, the woman called out, “Tommy, where are you riding to in such a rush?”

The boy answered, “I’m running away from home. My family hates me.”

“I see,” said the woman. “But, if you’re running away from home, why do you keep riding around the block?”

Turning the corner again, the boy called back, “My mother won’t let me cross the street by myself.”

Family: You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. And that’s just the way that it is. If I were to ask you who are the people you love most in life, the answer would often be family. If I were to ask you who has hurt you most in your life, family could also be the answer. The people in our family are the people who we care for and are proud of. They are also the people who worry us and disappoint us. It is clear that family is a mixed bag.

This is true of the holy family. Even though we tend to idealize Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—picturing them the way that they appear on holy cards—today’s gospel makes clear that they had their moments. In this visit to Jerusalem at Passover when Jesus remains behind, the holy family fails to communicate with one another, misunderstands and hurts one another. Mary says to Jesus, “Son, why have you done this to us?” And Jesus answers, “It’s not my problem. You should have known.” That’s rather typical of a family argument. But the important thing about this story is what happens after the argument. The text tells us that Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth and remained obedient to them. In other words, Jesus learned something from living in his family. We easily imagine that Jesus learned from Joseph and Mary how to pray and love. But it is also true that Jesus learned how to bite his lip and forgive.

The same is true for us. We learn in our families how to love and serve others. We also learn how to adjust and to say we are sorry. So instead of setting up some idealized picture of family that makes us feel guilty every time we argue or hurt one another, it might be better to see family as a place to learn: a place to learn how to live. In family we learn what is easy and joyful. We also learn what is difficult and painful. All of this is what makes family important.

Last January, Pope Francis gave an address on the family. In that address, he said, “In family, sometimes the plates fly. But after the storm has passed, it is time to work things out.” So we should not be discouraged if the plates fly in our family. It is all part of the learning. We should just recommit ourselves to work things out.

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