The Holy Family
After Christmas, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. It is easy for all of us to get wrapped up in the peace that permeates the Nativity. That miracle at Christmas, centered on the birth of Jesus, reminds all of us of the beauty and holiness of the Holy Family with Mary and Joseph adoring the Christ Child. The Holy Family is an example of faith and love that is essential for families. Saint Pope John Paul II stated that the Holy Family is “the prototype and example for all Christian families.”
What made this family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus holy? First and primarily, they were centered around Jesus. God in the flesh living among us. And as with every Christian family, we are all called to center our lives around Jesus. All Christian families that do this grow in holiness. Secondly, all family members strive to do God’s will. Mary gave her “Yes” to God at the Annunciation. Joseph obeyed God by caring for Mary and Jesus. Again, the Holy Family was holy because they always sought and did God’s will.
Within the Holy Family, Joseph exemplifies to husbands and fathers, the primary role of providing for and protecting their wives and children in all things. Especially from spiritual danger with providing and inspiring them with examples of strong faith. Mary is our great model and intercessor for wives and mothers with making their homes little churches with daily offerings, grace at meals and a prayerful life with an awareness of God. It is not unusual that Jesus was taught by their examples to know the full beauty of faith, the law, and the love for God.
Finally, the Holy Family was holy because they prayed. The Holy Family went to the Temple. They celebrated the major feasts. Jesus was taught and learned Hebrew where he read, learned, and understood sacred Scriptures. This is a great example to us of how we need to teach our children and ensure Religious Education is a primary concern of our child’s upbringing.
To center our lives around Jesus, families must inspire each other to become holy. We need to reach out, encourage and support each other in doing God’s will with joy. Leading by our own faithful examples. In so doing, we counter the attacks within our society on the Christian family being under siege by so many corrupting anti-Christian influences. In 2006, during his Angelus address on the Holy Family feast, Pope Benedict XVI urged families to “resist the disintegrating forces of a certain contemporary culture which undermines the very foundations of the family institution.”
We thank and praise God that Jesus was born to and grew up in the heart of the Holy Family of Joseph and Mary. And, as stated, all Christian families are little churches within our Mother Church celebrating the Eucharist at Mass with that same beating heart of the Holy Family.
Through Jesus, the Son of God who became the Son of Man, God formed a family, the Church, bound together by the bond and love of the Holy Spirit. And, as a model for all families, the Holy Family loved each other, sacrificed for each other, with bearing one another’s burdens and always forgiving.
Our Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of our Faith. The Holy Family is the domestic Church, a place of grace and prayer, a school of everyday human/family virtues and of Christian charity (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1666).
All families face challenges. Even the Holy Family faced challenges like giving birth in a stable, fleeing for their lives to Egypt, and loosing Jesus in the temple. However, through all the speed bumps of life, through all the curve balls thrown at you, always remember that God loves you. And it is through that love, permeating throughout your/our families, that makes them HOLY!
Blessings – Dcn Jim