Should auld acquaintance be forgot……
As we prepare to enter 2024, it is good to look back through the past year and remember all the ways God has been present in our lives. From the wonders of creation to the gentle love received from a loved one, God has been at our side. May these memories reassure us that God will again be at our side in 2024.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Regardless of the shape or size of your family, family is essential for the good of our world. Family is the training ground for learning actions of love --- feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, welcoming the stranger. It is gathering around the table of the Lord that families are strengthened. What are the best qualities about your family? What do you treasure most? What are you most grateful for that came from your family? What positives in your family do you want to repeat with the family you will have? Lawrence Mick writes, “It is so easy to domesticate the feast. See how wonderful the Holy Family is, how perfectly they live together. Don’t we wish all our families were like theirs?
But this feast does not occur within Christmas because we love perfect families. It is a reminder that Christ came to experience our human life in its fullness, not springing fully formed into the world, but needing to grow and learn and develop, just as we all do.
If we recognize that Christ was born in human flesh in order to draw all people into unity with God and with one another, then this feast takes on a much broader scope. It celebrates the whole human family, not just the “nuclear family” we love to idealize. If celebrating the Holy Family merely reinforces our natural instinct to love those closest to us, then it hardly deserves to be a major feast.
Today’s Gospel should remind us that family life for Joseph, Mary and Jesus wasn’t always peaceful and wonderful. It can also remind us that Jesus came to create a much larger family than the holy trio. He was about his Father’s business; he was sent to reconcile all people to God and to one another. Any healthy family finds its love spilling beyond the household to many others, and the more a family grows in love, the wider that circle of love becomes.” (December 2018, Celebration, p.31, The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, Kansas City, MO)
Blessings on your Christmas Days! (Seven swans a-swimming on Sunday)