Holy Family

Holy Family

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feast of Saint John of God

Good morning. Yesterday I ran across a written piece by Henri Nouwen. It was spotted at a Facebook ® page of a friend. Thanks Terry! Part of it read as follows: “The greatest gift parents can give their children is their love for each other. Through that love they create an anxiety-free place for their children to grow, encouraging them to develop confidence in themselves and find the freedom to choose their own ways in life.” I thought of this passage as I read the Gospel for this morning. It is a rather well known passage from the Gospel of Mark. It is where the Pharisees and Herodians once again make an effort to trip Jesus up. This time they make the inquiry regarding loyalty to God versus loyalty to the government, they ask Jesus “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?(Mk 12:14)” To which Jesus responds with the rather famous line, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God…(Mk 12:17)” As parents this statement by Jesus unfolds for us in many different ways, but foremost as the line by Henri Nouwen indicates the most important involves love. As parents we instruct our children in our duty to country by demonstrating the importance of fulfilling our obligation to the republic, and yes this includes paying our taxes. It likewise involves such things as showing them we have a responsibility to vote and to contribute to the well being of the community. And just as we make an effort to demonstrate that we all have an obligation to our civil community, we likewise show them we have an obligation to our faith community through tithing and becoming involved in the various church ministries. As parents, and ultimately for each of us, all that we do where it involves our children involves giving to God. In teaching our children to be good citizens we are giving back to God; we are fulfilling our obligation to God of caring for our children in the best way we know how. As Henri Nouwen indicates earlier in the passage from Bread for the Journey our children are not our “property”, they are given to us from God for safe keeping and it is our duty to help them find their way back to God through attending to their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. As Henri Nouwen indicates the most important of these lessons we offer to our children is the gift of love, and they learn this in the love we give to them and that we share with our marriage partner. It is in coming to know and appreciate that love is about self-giving that we fulfill our obligation to God through raising our children to be responsible and productive citizens. Give the gift of love, do something loving for your spouse today. Make a great day!

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

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