Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
My son, take care of your father. (Sirach 3:12)
Have you heard of the “sandwich generation?” It doesn’t have to do with food; it’s the situation many adults find themselves in, sandwiched between children and aging parents who need their care. In fact, a 2013 study found that in the United States, one in seven middle-aged adults provide financial support to their parents and their children, and almost three times that amount provide emotional support.
So how does God make us holy in the midst of these pressures? Don’t forget, our relationship with God, though personal, is meant to be lived out in community and not just individually. And the first and most important community is the family! It’s precisely through the ups and downs of family life that God forms his character in us. It’s a give-and-take; sometimes it’s our turn to give, and other times to receive.
If you’re on the receiving end, let people care for you! Chances are you’ve given much to your family over the years. Remember: as you receive, you are also giving a gift. You are giving them the chance to show their gratitude and to grow in becoming more like Christ. Taking care of your needs could be a pivotal experience in their relationship with God. It’s also a great way for you to grow in detachment and humility!
If you’re being called to give more, try to see in each needy family member the Christ child himself. How would you love him? What would you give to him? Believe that in loving and serving your family, you are loving and serving Jesus—and that he will bless you deeply for it.
On this feast day, God wants us to know that we can all become holy families. Through his grace, your family can become more of a living reflection of his love and life. Your actions in caring for each other and receiving that care will actually enflesh his love in the world.
“Father, pour out your grace and make every family a living icon of your love.”~WAU