Sometime ago I read a synopsis of a book by Joey Umali entitled “Pitong Sikreto ng Masayang Tahanan, Mga Pagkaunawang Batay sa Pitong Huling Wika ni Jesus”. It was all about anchoring the secrets of having a happy home on the seven last words of Jesus that we meditate on during Holy Week and Good Friday observance. I’d like to share them with you because I believe these seven words not only apply to families in general but to each one of us.

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” We need to seek forgiveness not only in the Sacrament of Reconciliation but also in our own personal and family relationships. The author reminds us that families are where the future, our children, are molded. For members of the family to experience the joy of being one with each other, forgiveness must be the norm, in order to keep the baggage of past mistakes and disagreements from disturbing family unity.

“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus said, “today”, not tomorrow or sometime in the future. We must believe in Him now. It is said that a family that prays together stays together. It is in the home and family life that love and living in love are learned and practiced. I believe the fundamental faith life of our children must be planted and nurtured in the family. A family that believes in the power of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection will surely be strong in times of trouble, suffering and hardships.

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” This word focuses on the joy of togetherness. How strong is the bond of togetherness between members of your family? The Holy Week break can be a good time to renew, refresh and deepen the bonds of togetherness as you observe together as a family the various rites and ceremonies that strengthen our faith.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This might be the cry today of those children whose parents leave them to look for greener pastures … that usually turn out not so green as they had hoped. I firmly believe that our children need more our quality presence rather than the quantity of our presents.

“I thirst.” Our lives as family members need to be balanced with both the physical needs (food, shelter, medicine, etc.) and the spiritual needs (knowing and experiencing God in the life of the family) nourishing our bodies as well as our souls.

‘“It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.’ The motivation of meaning. Our homes are where all family members learn and practice their values. This is where our children can discover their talents, who they really are, and their potentials in life. The home is where life at every age realizes its full meaning. We need to ask ourselves: How am I helping my family members, especially the children, find meaning in their lives?

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus knew that his heavenly Father loved him and would take care of him eternally. Are we instilling in our family members, in our children, the assurance that God loves them unconditionally? That we, their parents, also love them unconditionally? Is our home life-giving and a glimpse of heaven?

In the midst of these reflections, let us remember that, yes, Holy Week encourages us to dig deep into our souls, but that the insights gained from said soul searching must never be limited to Holy Week. Such heart-searching reflections should be continued throughout the year, actually throughout our lifetime. Then I am certain that we will truly be Easter people not only during Easter Sunday but every day of our lives.

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