On Friday, December 30 we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family. It is easier to think of Jesus, Mary and Joseph being THE Holy Family than it is to recognize that OUR FAMILIES are holy families too.
We assume their family was perfect— after all Jesus was God-made-flesh - what better son could there be! And God had to be taking care of them in a special way, don’t you think? But they had some of the same problems families have today. They were not at home when Jesus was born. Even worse, they couldn't return home because it wasn't safe to do so. When traveling with his parents,12 year old Jesus was separated from them and frightened them until they were reunited. As a young man, Jesus did not take up carpentry like his father, Joseph—the expected way to do things. Rather, he broke the mold and lived a life of much risk and much reward. So what makes a family holy? First, trusting God and recognizing that God is with us and that we need God. Can you think of a time when your children saw you turn to God in prayer or frustration or fear? Perhaps there was an illness, a loss of a loved one or a job. Living together in love through adversity is important. I remember praying our son through high school because school was so difficult for him. What about families dealing with serious illnesses? Or living in dangerous places and having to relocate just as the Holy Family did in Egypt for a while? It is the love of family that helps us weather these times.
Another important thing, Pope Francis says, is finding joy in everyday experiences. Joy is felt because of the bond of
love between family members rather than in things. It is not always perfect. But we keep trying. We practice patience, forgiveness and persistence to build those bonds of love. When I look at our statue of the Holy Family at St. Francis Xavier, a sense of wonder, love and safety fills my thoughts. There is a gentleness and a sureness that these people are in it together through thick and thin. The soft lines and colors are comforting. Take some time in the next weeks to pray with the Holy Family about your family. We are always becoming what God calls us to be!
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC