Have you ever seen a four-year old boy protest? A mother who has a five-year old, a four-year old, and a one-year old shared this story. One day the five-year old boy popped in the kitchen and said to his mother, “Gravity, Mommy.” The mother with a puzzled look said, “What’s gravity?” The five-year old then replies, “Gravity is a force that pulls objects to the center of the earth.” The mother is still puzzled and thinks to herself, ‘Why is he going on about gravity.” Then the little boy said, “Gravity also pulled all of Jude’s toys out of his window and into the pool.” The mother jumped up and ran to the kitchen window. And there they were, all of Jude’s toys were strewn about the kiddie pool. Jude, her four-year old son, was sent to bed early; in protest, he opened his bedroom window upstairs and flung every single toy from his room to the deck below. Your own family life, too, has its surprises and adventures, right?
The mother who shared the story said that originally she didn’t want to have children. She and her husband felt that their two dogs were adequate enough. In fact, they felt the same about God in their marriage. When they were married at a Protestant service, they removed any trace of the mention of God or Jesus in their ceremony. Do you know of someone in your family or of an acquaintance who share a similar attitude? After a few years of not having children, her husband one day mentioned in passing, “It would be nice to have a rugrat or two.” Then the wife, after her friend brought along her one year old son for a visit, broke down and cried saying that she wanted to have a child too. She learned, late into her marriage, that the deepest part of herself desired a family. The image of God written in her heart desired a love that was fruitful--that is, a family with children. Up until then, she wanted her marriage on her own terms--devoid of children, devoid of God.
Have you invited God into your family life? How does a married couple place God in the center of their marriage? Today’s Gospel offers succinct advice, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Simply, Jesus has shown us the way to peace. All families desire and pray for peace in their lives. Yet, if I were to ask you, do you wish that you did less running around, spent less time in the car, and preoccupied with less stuff, how would you answer? We lament that we are too busy, but none of this activity is forced upon us. All of us choose to clutter our lives with activities of the world. We choose to stay busy with many useless activities. We even allow our children to choose to stay busy with many extracurricular activities. Even those of us involved in ministry, we choose to stay busy doing things.
Jesus offers us a very different vision. Imagine a little town of Nazareth 2000 years ago. When Jesus woke up in the morning, he didn’t turn on his TV in his room to catch cartoons. Mary and Joseph didn’t rush to check their smartphone for updates. The family didn’t eat with TV news playing in the background. As they began breakfast, they first began with a prayer of thanksgiving to God. As they ate, they heard the birds chirping and each other’s voice in conversation. They were not preoccupied with how to logistically fit innumerable activities in one single day.
Can you think of ways to slow down your pace and put God in the center of your family? There will be pain and struggle in restructuring your family life to slow down. But we must not be afraid. We must ask the Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for help us put the life of the Divine Family of the Trinity as the first in our own lives.