The opening prayer for this 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time implores God’s help “amid the uncertainties of this world.” How true these uncertainties are today! But what is certain is that by having God as the center of our lives, seeking to know and do His will, we will one day “find our hearts fixed on that place where true happiness is found.” That place we know is heaven. We recognize that these are troublesome times, especially with the global pandemic and civil unrest, but we cannot allow ourselves to be dragged down by all the negatives. We are followers of Christ and that means we are a people of hope.
In the first reading, Shebna’s authority is taken away from him because he abused his power and used it for his own benefit instead of for the good of others. As adults we must use our God-given authority for the benefit of our families, loved ones, and neighbors. One way to use our authority is to teach our children the love of God by passing on the faith and helping them to experience the love of God through prayer and the sacramental life of the Church.
These are definitely uncertain times, but we need to remind one another that God is our constant; He is ever-faithful, loving, and merciful. It is He who gives us true peace and strengthens us to live a Christ-centered life. Continue to teach and live the faith with your children by praying grace before and after meals and by praying together before bedtime.
In my family of 13, after dinner each night, my Dad would lead us in prayer. During Advent and Lent, we would pray the rosary. We were a rambunctious gang, 11 boys and 2 girls, so we were not always 100% eager to participate in the nightly prayers. If we got distracted, dear Dad would give us one of those very fatherly stares (I think you know the kind I mean) and then we would refocus on our prayers, or at least try to.
It is strengthening to pray as a family. Reading and discussing the readings for Sunday’s Mass is a great preparation for the Liturgy. Children, because of their simplicity, often inspire me with their insights. I am sure you have given it a try in your own family and found that often the children’s understanding of the readings was inspirational and profound. Remember the slogan the Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, made popular, “The family that prays together, stays together.”
Below I share with you the family prayer we prayed each evening after dinner. May Saint Joseph, protector of the Holy Family, watch over and guide your family.
In Mary’s Immaculate Heart, I am,