How do we honor our father and mother, and our children? How do we treat one another? And if I honor my father and mother, what’s in it for me? What are the benefits of an attitude of love and respect for my father and mother? Well, the first paragraph of the first reading lists a treasure trove!
The Christmas season we began on Christmas Day is a time for family. We know that because the first time it was celebrated was by the Holy Family. If you are Catholic, you are commanded to “Honor Your Father and Mother”. As children and adults, sometimes that is hard! As our global, universal, Catholic Family continues the celebrating and feasting of the Christmas season, the Church gives us the gift of this wonderful feast to reflect on our individual, personal, unique part in our families.
Spoiler: Our activity this week sets you up for all those goodies in that first reading!
Luckily, we have some great role models to help us out: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us!
Catechesis At Home – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – Year C
Honor Your Father and Mother
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Honor Your Father and Mother
REFLECTION – Honor Your Father and Mother: A Commandment and a Promise
The first reading this week from Sirach is quite straightforward – honor your father and mother and you will be blessed. This ties into the Fourth Commandment to honor your father and mother. In Deuteronomy when Moses restates the Ten Commandments, only this commandment comes with a promise (Deuteronomy 5:16). If followed, the individual will be blessed. Sirach echoes this and confirms it. The Gospel story of the finding of the boy, Jesus, in the temple is the only window into the childhood of Jesus written in the Bible. At the end of the reading this week is the statement, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; …. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
Our model as children is Jesus. Our model as a child of God is Jesus. He had a mission given Him by His Father, and part of that mission was to be obedient to the parents God gave Him. We, too, are called to be obedient to our parents. God gave us the parents we have. Parents almost always make the right choices for their children, but sometimes they do not. Either way, we are to honor them. Honor them as their basic human dignity demands, and always honor their vocation as parents.
When we become parents, we are given a great mission – to raise our children for God. In this, we turn to Mary and Joseph as models. They were given the great mission of raising the Son of God, to teach Him the right way to love and treat others, teach Him how to worship God, teach Him how to be obedient to God. Our mission as parents is to teach our children how to love and treat others, how to worship God, and how to be obedient to God (and us). This is not always easy – children can be stubborn, and so can parents! Discussing this week’s readings with children who have reached the age of reason is important.
DISCUSSION – Answering, “How do you honor your Father and Mother?”
Read the readings this week aloud with your family.
After the Old Testament reading, ask:
What does the person who honors his or her parents receive? What is the promise?
Why do you think this is?
What are we to do as our parents age? Reflect on how we treat our aging parents.
After reading the Psalm, ask:
Who is this Psalm addressing? How can you tell?
Why do you think it is so important for the husband and father of the home to be addressed like this?
After reading the New Testament passage, ask:
What are the traits Christians should have? (These are also called “Fruits of the Spirit”.)
How can having these traits make family life more enjoyable?
After reading the Gospel, ask:
What activity was the backdrop for this story?
Think for a moment – the Holy Family made this trip every year. This may have been only the first or second year that Jesus was allowed to travel with his friends or cousins, outside the immediate supervision of Mary and/or Joseph. Think about how His parents felt for THREE DAYS as they searched for Him. What is the significance of THREE DAYS?
At the end of the story, what did Jesus do? How does this teach us what we should do?
ACTIVITY – Honor Your Father and Mother With a Simple Call
Call your parents this week. If they have passed away, call someone in your life whom you respect as you do a parent, or maybe a sibling so you can reminisce and love one another through memories you share. Tell them how you love them, respect them, and honor them. Thank them for their sacrifice, and their relationship with you.
Talk to Mary and Joseph. Ask them to be your spiritual parents. All of us can do this. We all can use more help to live rightly, to worship well, to grow in wisdom and favor with God. Mary and Joseph have a singular place to help us with that. They raised Jesus – they can help raise us and help us raise our own children. We only have to ask!
LEARN MORE – Other Honor Your Father and Mother resources from Holy Owned and Operated:
Links open in a new tab or window according to your settings so that you can compare and continue in this lesson’s theme.
Page: Mary Resources
Page: Advent Resources
Printable: Lord’s Day Celebration
Podcast: Family – Episode 71
Podcast: Family Prayer – What and How – Episode 8
TWMWU: God Keeps His Promises
TWMWU: Lord’s Day Celebration
TWMWU: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lesson: Encountering Christ in Our Everyday Life
Article: Storge and Philia – Love of Family and Friends
Article: May Crowning
How do you Honor Your Father and Mother?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles
Other Help on HOO
One of the seven social teachings of the Catholic Church, caring for our earthly home is intimately connected to every part of our life.
After quoting an 80s video game and Monty Python, Beth and Kristofer dive into this topic with Kristofer making sure everyone knows he is not a tree hugger.
Then they go on identifying birds and trees as they walk by. Well, the topic is what the topic is – and they do answer the question we all have about that environment issue.
Yeah, that one.