Feast of the Holy Family
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Luke 2: 41-52
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Our feast day is one of my favorites because for many of us we have just spent a lot of time with friends and family. Maybe we are thinking “the best lights of this Christmas Season have been the tail lights of friends and family driving away.” If that is the case, the Holy Family has much to teach us in this Christmas season.
There may be a part of us that says, “Why can’t we have just one story of how the Holy Family struggled to live their life of faith together.” I don’t know if it would help, but we may assume that they did struggle at times because that is what families do. The Church always holds up the ideal and says, “Now there is where I want you to strive to be, try and get there.”
After all this visiting with family and friends, we may be asking “Why can’t we be more like the Holy Family, we have all these problems?” I firmly believe that problems in a family are not reflective of a lack of holiness, none of us are called to be perfect, but we are called to be faithful. I believe that difficult situations in families are an opportunity for faith because it is then that we need to reach out to our loving God in faith for help and guidance. All of us in families face our particular hardships. Our readings today should give us some encouragement to continue to be like the Holy Family.
In our first reading from Sirach, the writer helps us to strive to be like the Holy Family by saying, “God sets a father in honor over his children.” All of us who are fathers need to be men of honor, which means we look to God for help and direction. We are to be fathers with integrity, and we are, to be honest. We are always as honest as our last secret. It says that mothers have the authority over their children. The other line I like because I am trying to do it myself is to “take care of your father when he is old; even if his mind fails him.” It continues by saying there are blessings given when we honor our fathers.
In our second reading from Colossians helps us to strive to be like the Holy Family by putting on clothes of heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. The reading continues, “Whatever happens to give thanks to God.” Good advice! And finally, “Children obey your parents in everything.” So, how have we done with this new wardrobe?
Our Gospel has much going on, but the line I want to focus on is after Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple Mary says to him, “Son, why have you done this to us?” We would respond the same way or even more dramatically. What this shows me is that it was over time that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus grew into what it meant to be the holy family. It took time to understand what it meant and they at times struggled. In the end, even though Jesus knows who he is and what he is about the returns home with Mary and Joseph, and he remains obedient to them, and Mary kept all these things in her heart.
Is your family holy? Yes! If you respond faithfully to God’s will for you and your family. Let us look to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, the Holy family and strive to be like them.