Role of Families in Building Communion of Communities

In a Christian Living Class
The Teacher asked her Grade 3 students: Where is the dwelling place of God? Many hands were raised. Many answers came: In Heaven. In the Church. In the Blessed Sacrament… Little Johnny also raised his hand. His answer surprised everyone: “Teacher God dwells in our CR!” He affirmed.

Teacher: What? Why in your CR? Timidly the boy explains: Because every morning my dad knocks at the CR and says: “My God, are you still there?
Our topic for this Eucharist is: The Role of Families in Building Communion of Communities. I’d like to repeat the Question of the Grade 3 Teacher: “Where is the dwelling place of God? Where do we find Communion and Unity?
My answer: God is found at home! In my home. In your homes. Where there is love and charity: God is home! God is close.
Our Families have a BIG ROLE to play in creating a space for God in our families, in our homes. When Jesus proclaims: The Kingdom of God is at hand..  It begins in the home where we always say: Charity begins at home! Where there is unconditional love and real relationship, God is there! He becomes visible. He becomes present. God lives!
However, there is “crisis in the home” today because God is slowly being pushed away from the center. We are absorbing what the world gives importance. Our present culture is characterized by 3 Prevailing Philosophies that control our culture and our mentalities: Individualism. Hedonism. Consumerism. There are actually creeds. Beliefs. The gospel of our times.
The gospel of Individualism proclaims a Me-First Attitude. It is based on an all-consuming concern for self. The obvious fruits of an individualistic culture are greed and selfishness. We see it at work.
The gospel of Hedonism declares that pleasure and personal gratification are the most important things in life. Its motto is: if it feels good, just do it! It produces men and women who are lazy, lustful and gluttonous.
The gospel of Consumerism professes that happiness is found in having more and accumulating more. It prioritizes our wants rather than our needs. Pope Francis says that consumerism leads people to become greedier, to pursue “frivolous pleasures,” which dull our consciences towards the needs of others. 
These modern gospels are affecting us and our families through our parents. Recently Hugh Hefner or Hef, Playboy Founder died at 91 years old. Who was he? He is hailed as a trailblazer, a man ahead of his time, an entrepreneur and a great American. But in reality he had so many dark sides. He is the face of these prevailing philosophies today.
He led a life that was not only sexually self-indulgent but it objectified women, glamorized sin and caused millions to dive into sin with carefree abandon. He not only hurt women but helped in the breakdown of marriage, the destruction of the family and contributed to the culture of contraception and abortion.
A cartoon pictured him after his death at the gate of heaven being interviewed by an angel. The angel says: Welcome to heaven! Surprised, Hef said: “Heaven?! Are you kidding? I just left heaven.
Indeed he is the ultimate Playboy because his hedonistic lifestyle encouraged millions of men to treat sex as play time and to remain boys – addicted to adolescent fantasies about sex. What brought him to such a lifestyle? In an interview with Hef dropping all his sophisticated façade, he revealed that he was a “lonely child with a distant, unaffectionate mother.”
Beneath the trappings of a celebrity fornicator is a lonely little boy looking for the love.. hungry of the love of a mother. All his life he was looking for it somewhere.. Upon analysis, we have here a scary reality: Hurt people hurt people!
No wonder some parents – using Bo Sanchez’ words – are HORROR Parents. Somewhere along the way, they got hurt. And they started hurting you. Bo in his Book: “How to Deal with Horror Parents, Monster Kids and Freaky Siblings” shares four most common Horror Parents in the world today: Ghosts, Zombies, Werewolves and Vampires.
Our parents may have been one of these kind. Tendency is: we can continue the cycle. We will continue the pain and the hurting unless we decide that the cycle stops with us!
Ghosts are Absentee Parents. In the Philippines there are 14 million solo parents. My parents were Overseas Filipino Workers.  In the past I resented them for not being physically there during the most important events in my life. But I chose to forgive them. I thought they abandoned me but now I want to honor their sacrifice. They were working there because of us, children. I appreciate them and love them for doing this to us.
If your parents abandoned you, left your family or chose another one, you have to decide to move on. You can’t get stuck in your anger. Forgive the parent who abandoned you and move on.
Zombies are Apathetic Parents. These parents are physically present, but emotionally absent. They were busy with other things: their job, or business or friends. They’re passive and uninvolved. They don’t instruct, don’t discipline, don’t engage, and don’t spend time with their kids. They let their kids run wild and they don’t care. Break the cycle. Forgive them. They were ignorant. There are no Parenting Classes then and now. Learn from their mistakes. Move on..
Vampires are Absolute Parents. They are over-acting parents: over-controlling. Over-protective. Over-possessing. Their parenting isn’t age-appropriate. Don’t resent them for over-controlling. It was their way of loving you. Just see the good intentions behind their actions. Forgive them. Love them. Honor them. The cycle stops with you!
Werewolves are Abusive Parents. It might be verbal, emotional, spiritual abuse. Worse – sexual abuse. The same principle applies: forgive and move on. We realize we all have broken past and imperfect parents. No wonder we live a more violent and sex-oriented world. All the more we need to communicate TRUST and HOPE for healing to take place.
An African Proverb said: “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Educational Mission of the Family is all the more imperative today. Our Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernadez points out that the Family is still the best place for the support, accompaniment and guidance of children.. The Family is the place in which the depth and beauty of the faith are taught and appreciated.
Our families may be broken; our parents are imperfect. Despite our sufferings and traumas, we are still hopeful. We journey on still embracing and lifting our crosses. Because in the midst of our pain and emptiness, God is very much present! 
As Pope Francis beautifully puts it: All family life is a “shepherding of mercy.” Each of us, by our love and care, leaves a mark on the life of others (AL # 322). Let us then, make a mark of mercy and love and our families will be surely God’s dwelling place. 

So may I ask again: where is God’s dwelling place? He is not in the CR.. He is in the hearts of those who love and care!
God bless us all!

This Homily was delivered on Day 2 of John Paul II Seminar-Workshop held at Don Bosco Formation Center, Lawaan, Talisay City, Cebu  – October 19, 2017

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