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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2019
(Part 24)

COMPASSION, DISCIPLINE AND HOLINESS


February 6, 2019

Today’s readings:
Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15
Psalm 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18
Mark 6:1-6


The family home is a place of love, nurture and formation. Parents are the first formators. The home is a small church. The formation of children in the home is crucial to a fruitful Christian life.

But many parents are not aware or are neglectful of their task. Many do not see the family as the first line in the formation of the people of God. Many parents simply entrust the education and formation of children to others, especially to schools. Many cannot grasp that children can be well educated in the home by ordinary parents. When Jesus began to teach in the synagogue, people said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? …. Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary ….” (Mk 6:2-3).

Parents indeed have a crucial responsibility for the formation of their children. They love, care for and nurture them. Indeed, “a father has compassion on his children” (Ps 103:13a). This means empathy, care, concern, solicitude, warmth, love, gentleness, kindness, mercy. Together with compassion comes discipline, which is crucial for the proper raising of children. “For what ‘son’ is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Heb 12:7b). In fact, who can best give both compassion and discipline to children than their own parents? Teachers in school certainly can only give a limited bit of that.

Now we ourselves as parents are children of God. In the family of God, the treatment of children is the same. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” (Ps 103:13). “For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges. Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons.” (Heb 12:6-7a).

In treating our own children in the same way God treats us, we are mindful of the reality that our children are God’s children, simply entrusted to us as earthly parents. We are to form them according to God’s mind and heart. And what is the purpose of compassion and discipline? It is to bring “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” (Heb 12:11b). It is so that as children of God, “we may share his holiness.” (Heb 12:10b).

The home is the place where we experience the grace of God and the love that keeps any form of bitterness away. “See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled.” (Heb 12:15). The home is the place where we recognize and live peace, being in right relationships with others, beginning with our own relatives. “Strive for peace with everyone” (Heb 12:14a). The home is the place where we are to start to grow in holiness. All this is to prepare us for heaven, by attaining to“that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14b).

But between childhood in the human home and life eternal with the family of God in heaven, there is mission. The family and home are preparation for doing the work of God in the world. This basic work is that of proclaiming the salvation of Jesus. Such work is for us, for our children, and for our descendants. We are to live out God’s covenant, and we are to go forth and do His work. This is the way we help bring God’s blessing upon ourselves and upon the world. “His salvation is for the children’s children of those who keep his covenant, and remember to carry out his precepts.” (Ps 103:17b-18).

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