Feast of the Holy Family – Reflection – 30 December 2022.
If your family is anything like my own family, then you’ll know that family life is often messy. Let’s say we are trying to explain the concept of “family” to an alien. I’m pretty sure we’d say things like:
‘In a family, sometimes, personalities clash. Family members make decisions that affect you – and if this hasn’t happened to you yet – praise God but somewhere along the way, a family member will probably break your heart.’
The alien might ask, why be part of a family if it’s this miserable?
Hopefully we’d say because it’s equally rewarding, and more! Watching a child achieve their goals and dreams; getting a hug from mum or dad that comforts the soul; or sharing a deep, guttural laugh with a sibling watching cat videos online, are equally, if not more, rewarding moments!
Although it can be difficult at times, there’s nothing like the love that a family shares for each other. And that’s what we honour today in our feast of the Holy Family, Jesus Mary and Joseph, a family in and of themselves but also our family; members of our home.
The Holy Family serve as example and archetype for us to model and look towards with confidence. They show us what a redeemed family look like when God becomes your guide and God becomes your strength and they stand as contrast to the first family of Creation, Adam and Eve.
In Adam and Eve we see this desire to be like God in the eating of the forbidden fruit, but in Mary and Joseph, we see a couple submitting themselves to God’s will and God’s commands. Mary who gives her ‘YES’ and Joseph who follows in the directions of the Lord through his dreams.
In Adam and Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel, we see the destruction of humanity, when sin, jealousy and envy cause one man to kill another, someone of the same flesh and blood. Yet in Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s son, we see someone, who in their flesh and blood did not kill another but sacrificed himself for another, for us, his brothers and sisters.
Somewhere between the first family of Creation and the Holy Family is our family, struggling to make sense of this world whilst competing with sin and striving toward holiness.
One other family that we belong to is the family of the Church, we who gather here.
We’re all different shapes and sizes and have varying degrees of beliefs but what unites us is our God and our faith.
So, as we prepare to receive of the Lord in the Eucharist today and be more united to a God head family, may we allow faith and the love of God to be the cornerstone of our households. May our homes be a place for God and may our families dedicate our lives to God just as the Holy Family did through their lives.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us, and all our families. Amen.
Fr William Aupito Iuliano