When two people decide to tie the knot it means that during the stages of courtship they had enough time to know each other; their likes and dislikes, attitudes, somehow strength and weaknesses of each other, and most important is the love to each other.  They must be mature enough in faith and fate in raising a family. The love that matures along their journey must be sufficient to raise a family considering all the consequences of the different realities of being husband and wife. But for some couples who decided to get married not letting experience mature them, facing the realities awaiting them. Realities which are not the same as stage and level of courtship but in a more profound and firm decisions in performing the promises to each other. The Church particularly in the different parishes organize the seminars Pre-Cana for the couples who are preparing for the sacrament of matrimony. This is not only to prepare the couples but to educate them in the life that they are entering becoming husband and wife.

“… besides being the Church’s embrace of the family and its problems in today’s world, truly helping to incarnate the Gospel within the family, which is already a Gospel: the Gospel of the family – is at the same time a invitation for families to help by collaborating and contributing to the Church’s growth.”  Though there a lot of family problems arising these days, these problems may not hinder us to strengthen the contribution of each family to grow through these experiences.

  Raising a family is not easy as we think … there is a saying in Pilipino;  “ang pag-aasawa ay hindi katulad ng mainit na kanin na kapag isinubo mo at napaso ka ay puwede mong iluwa.”  ( getting married “it is not like eating newly cooked rice, when you are burn you just spit it up”.) Raising a family is an art, it’s a vocation.  “The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator.” This vocation is not a man-made vocation which we just simply ignore the values embed on it God is the creator and we have to act on it upon God’s will. In this specific vocation it may arise financial problems, infidelity, fertility struggles, irresponsibility, incompatibility, poor communications, trusts, change of appearance and more.  “On the other hand, however, signs are not lacking of a disturbing degradation of some fundamental values: a mistaken theoretical and practical concept of the independence of the spouses in relation to each other; serious misconceptions regarding the relationship of authority between parents and children; the concrete difficulties that the family itself experiences in the transmission of values; the growing number of divorces; the scourge of abortion; the ever more frequent recourse to sterilization; the appearance of a truly contraceptive mentality.”    These occasions happened when the married couple let their feelings overcome and ruled them than to find the meaning of their lives between the two of them which God put them together. “… Since we are used to thinking about the family as the place where our Catholic faith is handed on and lived, we sometimes pay too little attention to how the family itself is related to the plan of God revealed in Scripture for the sake of our salvation in Jesus Christ.  Raising a family is a new beginning and stage fulfilling God’s plan.

 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.”  Children has also with great responsibilities in nourishing their relationship with their parents in their family. “As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them.” Oftentimes children are the ones who suffers from the consequences of marital problems of parents. We can’t avoid some instances that the children were left to their grandparents, and relatives or others are left to foster homes for their parents can’t take care of them. Otherwise children’s’ ended up rebelled to their parents into many circumstances showing infamous and unscrupulous acts in the society.

 Family is the seedbed of many vocations in the Church, the challenges of each family “No matter into what model our families fit — or don’t fit — they can serve as examples of joy and love in the world if they strive to be domestic churches committed to God’s will.”

In today’s feast as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, Their entire life waiting for the Savior  Simeon and Anna’s  encounter of  the infant Jesus gave them a hope for the people of Israel. A different feelings and emotions these two old people experience of encounter not just a simple purification and presentation but it brought salvation. Which Simeon uttered: “Lord, now let your servant go in peace, your Word has been fulfilled, my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”   

Joseph and Mary are just a simple couple who found the favor of God. The vocation of Mary and Joseph to married life is a perfect example of how God’s will perfected in them.  We could imagine the challenges which Joseph and Mary experience when they are building their own family. Raising a son like Jesus who definitely live a normal life as a other child do. But it only differs the reality of Jesus to be in his father’s house to preach and share his wisdom to the elderly.   Joseph and Mary doesn’t undergo any Pre-Cana seminars as the couples of this age are doing. The holy couple are matured by faith, and events as parents fulfilling God’s will.

In this feast we remember those families who are passing difficult times with their daily living, families who are struggling raising their children, families who are divided by hatred, misunderstanding and jealousy, family who are in the midst of loneliness cause bareness. May God hear their longings of reconciliation, of comfort, and love and may the holy family Joseph, Mary and Jesus gives enlightenment to all shadows of all families.