THE HOLY FAMILY
Every year, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas. And that means a celebration of family life — births, weddings, funerals, anniversaries. In the first reading, we hear about a joyful birth — that of Samuel. After years of prayer, Hannah and Elkanah are granted a son. As soon as Samuel is weaned, his mother fulfils her promise and gives him up to the Lord’s service at the shrine at Shiloh. We in our parish have a particular reason to celebrate as we are the Parish of the Holy Family. As an example for us to follow, the Holy Family can seem a little too perfect: when we consider the more “dramatic” events of the Christmas and Easter stories, it can seem so far removed from us. And yet, as today’s Gospel reminds us there were also the so-called “hidden years” – the many years of family life in Nazareth, spent in doing ordinary family things. During that time, we hear how Jesus grew and matured, and in the glimpse of that family life we see our example. Our celebration of this feast announces that there is a lasting value in the ideals of family life especially when so many are denigrating what it means to be a family as well as the relationship between husband, wife, parents and children. Whatever the changing details of each age, honour, understanding and love always remain the recipe for the perfect, and holy, human family.
Today we remember the care that Mary and Joseph gave to Jesus. We recognize the sacrifice they made for Jesus, in the same way as we recognise the sacrifices our own parents made for us and many more are making for their children today in our I want I get world.
Our families would find the disagreements, stressful relationships, and resentments that spoil the joy of family harmony so much easier to solve by imitating the faith and loving trust of the Holy Family. “Lord Jesus, you came to restore us to unity with the Father in heaven. Where there is division, bring healing and pardon. May all peoples and families find peace, wholeness, and unity in you, the Prince of Peace and Saviour of the world.”