Family: Living presence of Jesus
Every Christian family wants the presence of Jesus in it and around it but forgets what Jesus promised- where two or three gather in my name, there I will be. This is an unfailing promise to every family from Jesus
By Joe Palathunkal
“God, may all my family and friends who need a miracle be blessed. May all those who are weak be strengthened. And, may all those who carry heavy burdens be lightened. Amen.”
This was a Whatsapp message I got from the Catholics of Ahmedabad group today morning which clearly enunciates the aspirations and anxieties of a family but with a sign of hope that the good Lord can make things better for us. Or in other words saying what the centurion said in another way: Lord, I am not worthy receive you into my home but only say the word my whole family will be healed, will find hope and strength in you.
Every Christian family wants the presence of Jesus in it and around it but forgets what Jesus promised- where two or three gather in my name, there I will be. This is an unfailing promise to every family from Jesus and if the family members believe in these words, they will mould their family accordingly and the presence of Jesus will be assured among them.
Every family must turn into a dynamic gathering of two or three in the name of Jesus and it means a lot more than just believing that we are so but living the spirit of those words – in my name. First of all we must realise that the name of Jesus means in essence all that Jesus lived for and died for and it was all for one fundamental value: love.
Love that gives without counting cost and try this in your family and you will see miracles as said in the opening prayer. No family member should think of giving to his brothers or sisters or parents counting cost and if it is done, that very moment Jesus will disappear from your family. If you want the living presence of Jesus in your family, then love without counting cost.
Sometimes in families you may notice children counting the costs of what they did for their parents or other siblings, in such a bargaining family Jesus who took the whip and thrashed the traders in the Temple will do the same. Giving without counting cost and the family will be filled with the abundance of life Jesus promised. When you give without counting cost, heavy burdens will be lightened.
Then there is a question of discrimination based on gender which is so much ingrained in the Indian psyche and a Christian family if it wants the living presence of Jesus, it must liberate itself from this sickening and putrefied gender discrimination.
When Jesus said man and woman would become one in marriage, he categorically abolished gender discrimination and established once and for all gender equality. Christian family must exemplify this though in India we live in a cultural atmosphere of brutal discrimination against women. See the challenging article by Father Cedric Prakash SJ in this regard in the Living in Faith website.
If family is a gathering in the name of Jesus, then there is no place for violence against women or ill-treatment or prejudices. Every Christian family must strive to make it a living presence of Jesus like the first family of Nazareth where Jesus himself was the living presence as the centre and Lord.
(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)