Holy Family Homily

Click here for my recorded homily at Christ the Redeemer parish

Some notes for my homily:

“Richard, you have not accepted your own goodness.”

Here’s an inspiring quote from Conrad Baars on receiving your own goodness from another:

  • “In order to become open to all existing goodness, and thus to find happiness through affirming that goodness, whether in beings or in things, you first have to be yourself. In order to be yourself, you must first become yourself. In order to become yourself, you must first receive the gift of yourself. In order to receive this gift, there has to be another who gives, who gives without taking, without demanding anything, who gives you what is not his or her own, but yours, your own goodness. The other can do this only when the other is already happy with himself or herself, and thus open to the goodness of all else” (Born Only Once, 11).

“Did you know that there were no mirrors in the Holy Family’s home in Nazareth?”

  • “Historically, we know for certain that a poor family 2,000 years ago would not have had any mirrors in their homes. But spiritually, there is profound meaning in this. It reveals that Jesus, growing up in Nazareth, based His identity and value and worth upon how Mary and Joseph looked at Him. Jesus never looked in a mirror to discover His own goodness. No. It was rather through how Mary and Joseph looked at Jesus. And how did Mary and Joseph look at Jesus? As the model parents for all Christians, Mary and Joseph looked at Jesus with love, care, fully accepting Him in His unique personality. Delighting in Him in the carpenter shop… teaching him how to pray… They were aware of His unique goodness and worth, separate from and prior to any good or valuable things that Jesus could do… this prepared Him so well for the baptism in the Jordan when Jesus would hear from his Heavenly Father, you are my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. I am sure that Jesus heard these words continually growing up… “

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What are the mirrors in your life? What are the standards that you have set for yourself that are not in line with God’s vision of you?

  • The problem with looking in the mirror is that it prevents us from looking at God looking at us.
  • Choosing to have mirrors is like choosing to live in the unhappy and unholy family of me, myself and I.
  • It’s like carrying a selfie stick around you all the time looking at yourself with judgment. This only brings sadness and frustration. We can never live up to the standards that we have set for ourselves.

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Here’s the picture I put up in seminary on my bathroom mirror to remind me to take down the “mirrors” in my life and find all my value, identity, and worth based on how Jesus looks upon me with love.

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Here’s another picture I like to use:

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How to Begin Prayer: “Consider how the Lord my God looks upon me” (St. Ignatius of Loyola).

  • “A step or two before the place where I am to contemplate or meditate, I will stand for the space of an Our Father and, with my consciousness raised on high, consider how the Lord my God looks upon me. Then I will make an act of reverence or humility” (Spiritual Exercises, #75).
  • Click here for article from Robert Marsh on looking at God looking at you and click here for my summary of this article.

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