It has been a while, but after returning from a beautiful white Christmas in New England, I felt compelled to reflect on the first reading for Sunday, December 26th.
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother's authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays he is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.
My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
-- a house raised in justice to you.
This seems to be also connected to what the Lord spoke when speaking about marriage as recorded in Mark 10:708
This is why a man leaves his father and mother,
and the two become one flesh. They are no longer two, therefore, but one flesh.
In this respect, blessings come from honoring your father and mother. You cannot honor one and dishonor the either. Dishonor to either is dishonor to both. Being unloving of either is being unloving of both. Being unforgiving of either is being unforgiving to both. Note that the blessings in Sirach do not ask the father or mother to be worthy of honor and respect, even when the mind fails, the duty to respect and honor does not.
It was very proper that the homily that followed this talked about loving and forgiving in families. While families can be the place for greatest support, they may be the place of greatest hurt. That is why Gods Loveletter to us, His Word, talks about honor and respect. When we deal with our parents with love and respect, His Love flows through us, even though we may not at the time be aware of it.
Merry and Blessed Christmas!