I was waiting for my friend at a mall food court when my attention wandered again and again to a table next to mine wherein a family of 5 while having their dinner and nibbling food were preoccupied spending time with their individual technological gadgets (pardon for my kibitzing!). The couple (husband and wife) were busy with their cellphones while the 3 kids were likewise engrossed with their tech devices. The father was talking to someone over the phone, the wife was like enjoying watching something at her phone as she was smiling to herself while the kids were playing games which totally engrossed them, forgetting the food on the table. I didn’t see/hear them talk with each other during their dinner time except when they left which made them stopped and eventually kept their gadgets.
The above incident where the said family instead of having probably a dine-out date to bond, eat together and enjoy the food (supposedly were the objectives), unfortunately did the opposite. I felt they were more connected with their tech gadgets, as if there was something more enjoyable about it which kept them distant from each other even if they were close together just seated an inch apart.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of any form of technology and a social media enthusiast but I realized it was awkward seeing the said family all buried into their phones and gadgets while having dinner. Nowadays, we see some people particularly the young ones doing tech-related stuff as a form of interpersonal bond. However, for family bonding moments it would still be more appropriate to see family spending quality time and sharing stories, with their tech gadgets switched off or set aside, particularly during eating time.
Just like when we give toys to kids, there is normally an accompanying reminders to be careful in handling them. We define and set boundaries/limitations on how and when to use technological gadgets or any other form of disruptions in order to enhance family relations and savor the essence of personal communications.
This is the same thing with our relationship with God. As Christians, the family in line with the Church teachings serves as the foundation of our Christian faith formation. It is basically through our parents where we learn our faith by knowing, loving, serving and glorifying God. Apart from this however, there is also a need to listen properly and ponder on Christ’s teachings and eventually share the same coupled with acts of mercy and kindness to our neighbors as much as possible without any hesitations and disturbances.
Attending the Holy Mass or the Holy Eucharist especially on Sundays is one spiritual activity which unite family together. The Holy Eucharist is one of the Sacraments and is considered as the heart and center of our Christian faith. As Catechists would teach, the Eucharist is both a sacrifice and a meal. It is a sacrifice as it embodies the saga of Jesus Christ on earth, His life, sufferings, death and resurrection. It is a meal as we partake the body and blood of Jesus Christ during the Holy Communion. There are many fruits in Eucharistic adoration specifically when we receive the Holy Communion. Apart from enhancing our relationship with God, it does not only pardons us from our sins but it also preserves us from committing grievous sins. The Eucharist gives force to the sacrament of matrimony which is the foundation of a stable Christian family.
Likewise, it is during the Eucharistic celebration that Jesus Christ is present with us, particularly when the priest utters the sacred words over the gifts, and that the bread and wine cease to exist and it is Jesus Christ Himself who is there, in His Divine Nature and Man. This is the reason why (apart from being the place of worship) church goers are requested to observe reverence in Churches particularly during the mass. We are requested to observe silence, dress properly, turn off cellphones and tech gadgets that would detract attention away from the reason for being there, i.e. to pray to and worship
Real deals are hard to find in this age and time. Like it or not and believe it or not, our Christian faith in the Holy Eucharist and our respective families are the “real deals” in our lives. They serve as the center and soul of our Christian life. They provide us the spiritual and emotional support whenever needed. It is in the Eucharist where we commemorate the life of Jesus Christ and it is where our families and members of the Church gather together to praise and glorify God and partake of the sacred host. If we make the Eucharist as the heart of our Christian family life, it will build unity and promote peace, love and understanding among the family members, the community and ultimately mankind.
The first month of 2017 is filled with celebrations about God, from the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, Epiphany, to Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Father noted that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ himself. In one of his homilies, Pope Francis pointed out that the Eucharist empowers family life and Christian families draw their life from the Eucharist. As such, hopefully this year, we will be able to rediscover our faith through the Holy Eucharist and our families because that will eventually bring forgiveness, healing, joy, hope and love to each of us especially in our personal and spiritual lives.
Happy 2017 to one and all! May Our New Year be filled with more blessings and graces from God. O Holy Mary, handmaid of the Lord, pray for us