HONOUR YOUR PARENTS
I have a teenage friend, Catherine, who is 16 years old and she was telling me that she was not getting on well with her parents and she couldn’t cope with them. She said that she found it hard to accept anything that her parents said to her and of course they were very unhappy and frustrated with her behaviour. In Ephesians 6:1-3 it says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise. So that it may be well with you and you may live long on earth.” Again, Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
ENTRUSTED TO OUR PARENTS
Even though the giver of life is God, our heavenly Father, he entrusted us to our earthly parents to be born, nurtured and raised. We often forget the way our mother suffered when she carried us in her womb and gave birth to us. God has appointed our parents to give us the gift of faith and to teach us the Lord’s commandments. “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) But the Lord has also given instructions to our parents, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) There are spiritual blessings that we can receive when we are obedient to our parents:
1. We will be safe in our lives. Sirach 3:1 “Listen to me your father O children, act accordingly, that you may be kept in safety.”
2. We lay up treasure in heaven. (Sirach 3:4-5)
3. Our sins will melt away. (Sirach 3:3)
4. We get long life on earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
5. We make God happy. (Colossians 3:20)
Remember that the devil knows all about the blessings that come from being obedient to our parents, so he tricks us into being disobedient. In Ephesians 2:1-2 St. Paul says “You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.”
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OUR PARENTS
In the Book of Judges, chapters 13 – 16, we read about the birth of Samson. An angel spoke to Samson’s parents about his birth and how he would deliver Israel from the Philistines. The angel did not speak directly to Samson at all but delivered his message through Samson’s parents. Our relationship with our parents is close to the divine relationship that we have with God, and often the divine decisions regarding us as children of God are conveyed through our parents. The younger generations are blessed through their parents. In the Bible we see how Jacob blesses his twelve children by foreseeing God’s plan for each one of them. We can see the story of the fight between Jacob and Esau to get the blessing from their father by trying to please him the most. Many blessings will flow freely on those children who obey their Godly parents.
BONDED BY LOVE
A few years ago there was an accident in Calcutta. In the middle of a river, a boat sank in a storm. Some people who could swim were saved but unfortunately many died. The lifeguard started bringing the dead bodies to the shore and amongst the chaos, one scene really struck him. A woman was found clutching her child close to her chest. Even as she was dying she did not let go of her baby. Parents and children are bonded together not only by blood but also by a divine loving relationship which is similar to that of God and his beloved people.
PRAY FOR PARENTS
Some of our parents face big challenges. It might be through unemployment, money worries, overworking, alcohol or other addictions and we should not be angry or annoyed but we should pray for them, because God wants to make our parents holy through us. Jesus said, “For their sake I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:19) Parents should not be strangers in our lives. Instead they should be our best friends. They are the only people, beside God, who know us for who we really are. We can put on masks to hide behind with other people and have many friends, but in reality, they do not know the real person, who is me. God has given us parents, not to moan at us but to guide and strengthen us when we feel lonely or weak. Loving our parents is never a waste of time instead it is an opportunity to receive more grace from heaven.
A WAY TO EVANGELISE
So let us pray that our families become more like the Holy Family of Nazareth and inspire and touch the broken families around us. This is one way of evangelising and spreading God’s love. Pope Francis has said that evangelisation begins at home, and it is true; a family that prays together stays together.
Written by Soji Bijo