Holy Family

Holy Family

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feast of Saint Agatha

Good morning.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  We live in a society where the parenting norm is one where parents are often absent and where our prodigies are handed off to someone else to raise.  Worse yet, we live in a culture where the parenting style has become permissive and indulging.  It seems to me for many the job of parent has come to be a far cry from what was intended.  As parents, we were hired on by God to be as shepherds for those precious gifts God gave us charge over--our and God’s children. 

I always find it of interest that God is portrayed as a Shepherd. We see this in the Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want (Psalm 23)” and we see it in the Gospels.  In fact this is depicted for us in the readings for today’s Mass.  “His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things (Mk. 6: 34).” What often confuses people is their image of a shepherd, what they often lack an appreciation for is that shepherds are very rough individuals. They need to be because the job is very demanding and the conditions are challenging. Today’s reference in scripture to Jesus being a Shepherd in such a clear way offers us an understanding of our role as parents.  It often is the case that as parents we too are moved with pity in response to a variety of situations or challenges our children encounter, and yet like shepherds, who are very rugged and hardened individuals, we respond as the Psalm indicates with providing what is needed, protection, comfort, kindness, and doing and requiring what is necessary to guide our children along the right paths.  

Thirty years working as a marriage and family counselor has taught me that people’s character is more often than not seen in the actions and values of their children.  As indicated the task of being a shepherd, of being a parent, is not an easy one. It requires much vigilance, the costs are immeasurable, and there are no personal days or vacations, we’re always on duty.  Like a shepherd it often presents hardships and it can get lonely, it can be lonely making unfavorable demands. It is definitely not a popularity contest.  But because we love them, and because we have a responsibility to God to guide them along the right path, we do what needs to be done; and in the end our children’s actions and values will reflect good shepherding.  Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts and works of Saint Agatha.

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