“Be loyal to your family” : Fr Martin Loftus SDB Salesian Community, Limerick, Ireland

“Be loyal to your family”

 When children are growing up, the regular presence of parents is a constant assurance of safety for every young child. The family, no matter what its shortcomings, is the basic human connection. Parents are the first teachers of love. It is from the parents that love is taught, or caught! Their attachment to the child shows the child that he is worthy of love. And it also shows the child how to love. We keep the feast of the holy family today – mary, joseph and jesus as a family. The gospel tells us that this holy family

Seemed to live constantly in the shadow of pain! This holy family was not a plaster-cast family. They experienced all the difficulties, and trials, that human beings are heir to.

One thing i can say with certainty, is, that there isn’t a family on the island of ireland, that doesn’t have some kind of trouble! The chinese have a proverb which states: “nobody’s family can hang out a sign that says: nothing is the matter here!”

But whatever form your family trouble takes, there is a way that the holy family can support & serve you. And that way, is the way in which they loved one another! Joseph was faithful to mary, even though the child she carried was not his! Mary was faithful to her son jesus, through all his pain, even to the foot of the cross!! You remember, that one of the things that most concerned jesus, as he hung on the cross, was that there would be somebody, like john, to take care of his mother after he was gone.

On this feast of the holy family, there’s really only one message i’d like to give you: “Be loyal to your family.” Give them the support, the understanding, and the love that they need. My mother used to talk about a man who was a “street angel” but a “house devil” – he was lovely to neighbours & strangers, but horrible to his own family! Reserve your deepest kindness for your own home!! You know the faults of your family members better that anybody else, but don’t forget their virtues, or all the things they’ve done

For you in the past. Like the holy family, every family has it’s times of happiness and joy, and, at some stage, it’s time of suffering. We must enter into the happiness and celebration when it’s there. And if some member of your family is suffering – rally round!! And if the going gets really tough, then pray to the holy family for inspiration and support. May god bless you, & your family, in the coming year. May you enjoy, above all, harmony and health. And may you, as a united and supportive family, enjoy a great share of happiness and love together.

I’d like to finish with this family blessing:

May god bless you & your family.
May god strengthen you, together;
May god dwell in your hearts.
May god inspire you
To share his love with one another;
And, may god hold you , and your family,
In his arms of love

Fr Martin Loftus SDB  Salesian Community, Limerick, Ireland