December 30, 2018

Feast of the Holy Family – 2019

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. The Gospel takes us on an annual pilgrimage made to the Holy City of Jerusalem – Jesus was about 12 years old.

  1. When the family was returning, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem, without his parents knowing it.
  2. After a day’s journey, Mary and Joseph discovered that Jesus was missing, so they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.
  3. After three days, they found him in the temple:
    1. sitting in the midst of the teachers listening to them and
    2. asking them questions.

Jesus’ strange words to Mary and Joseph seem to subdue their joy at finding him: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  – about my Father’s work.”

Jesus reminds Mary and Joseph that God is his father. Being the Son of the Father, and obedience to his will, take precedence over family ties. This scene in the gospel reminds us that no family – including the holy family – is free of worries and problems.  This is the story of every family?

Today as we think about the Holy Family, we are invited to examine our own family. A family is not merely a basic social unit; families were designed by God to be

  1. caring,
  2. cooperating,
  3. compromising,

Today’s feast calls us to look beyond the limitations and idiosyncrasies of each member of our family, to see God in each other. Nothing has been more battered and broken – nothing has changed more – than the family. Family life is no longer a value in our society.

We have begun a holy year asking for God’s forgiveness for not loving him and one another enough! God has a plan for us – for our individual families and for the entire family of mankind – and we are included in that plan.  As we celebrate this feast of the holy family, we are called to rebuild our own individual families. Our attempts to rebuild our families begin.

In Bethlehem, where our faith has gathered us to witness the incarnation of the Son of God!  With the eyes of our heart, we gaze at God’s humility and love which comes to us as a child. Like Mary and Joseph, we ponder this mystery – of God taking our flesh and becoming one of us. On this feast of the holy family, the church invites us to reconsider what the word “commitment” means.

  1. so many of our families have suffered divisions caused by divorce, illness, death, or financial problems.
  2. so many families do not communicate, and they begin to fall apart.
  3. so many hearts of parents are broken as their children declare independence from family, from morality, from the church, from the authority of any kind.

The voice of the church cries out to all families today, pleading for a conversion to the truth of Christian marriage and moral values as taught by the holy family of Nazareth. What can we do about the breakdown of the family in our culture?

  1. We can examine our family and see if it has fallen – for society’s lack of values.
  2. Has our family lost a sense of sin?
  3. Has our family abandoned traditional moral and family values?
  4. Has our family been caught – up in the false notion that material possessions are the answer to our search for happiness rather than spiritual values?
  5. In our family,  do we desire to obtain material things rather than spiritual values?
  6. In our family is the voice of the church simply crying – out in the wilderness?

On this feast of the Holy Family, every family needs to meditate on what the holy family is and calls us to be. The best advice for families today is the advice given by Saint Paul 2000 years ago, and it still applies today.

“Bear with one another. Forgive one another.  And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.”

Enjoy your families. You don’t know how long you will have them!