Friday, 30 December 2016 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great Feast of the Holy Family, the Holy Family of our Lord Jesus Christ with His mother Mary and with His foster-father, St. Joseph. On this day we remember that holiest of all holy families, centred on our Lord Himself, and surrounded by the loving and tender care of Mary and Joseph, as He was born into this world, which we celebrate as Christmas.

And perhaps today, on this Feast, we should look into the examples set by that holiest and most blessed of all families, and in each of its members. Each and every one of them can show us all how we all should live as Christians, and how each and every one of us should behave as Christian families, as they are role models for our very own families. When we follow their examples surely then our families too will be holy and will be blessed by God.

Jesus was the Son, the One to Whom Mary and Joseph as His parents showered their love, care and concern. He was the Baby born in a manger to Mary His mother, which we celebrate at Christmas, as the moment when the Saviour of the world, the Son of God was born into this world. But although He is the Son of God, He is also the Son of Man, and as all babies are, at that time, when He was just born, as we heard in the Gospels, the Baby Jesus was in danger from His many enemies, first of which was King Herod of Judea, who felt that his throne was under threat from the coming of the True King, Who is Christ.

And that was where Joseph and Mary protected Him, and with the guidance of the Angel of God, Joseph as the father led the Holy Family on the journey to Egypt, in order to hide the Child Saviour from His enemies, king Herod first of all, and waited there until the danger was over, before returning to the land of Israel. And in this we see Joseph as the foster-father of Jesus, acting as the head of the family, as all fathers would have, and he did so dutifully even though Jesus was not his biological Son. He loved and cared for Him regardless.

Joseph worked hard as a carpenter, most likely to provide for himself and his family, for Mary and Jesus. His family was not a rich one, and indeed most likely was a poor one, since carpenters worked hard but they were hardly appreciated, and their income were often low. And yet, he worked hard and was known for his upright attitude and devotion. He was also certainly a devoted father and a faithful husband.

Mary meanwhile, was the mother of the family, the one who provided food and love for the family, including for Jesus her Son. She showed us all the life of a faithful wife and a good woman and daughter of the Lord, who obeyed the Lord in all of His laws and commandments, and lived righteously and justly, obedient to her husband and caring and loving for him and for her Son.

Both Mary and Joseph must have been crucial in their respective roles in guiding and leading Jesus through His growing years, during which time, just as all parents do, and indeed should do, they must have brought Him up well, as well as a man and a woman can do together to raise up their children. And that family was therefore blessed and filled with as much love and joy as they could have.

Jesus Himself as the Son also obeyed His parents, as was evident when He was twelve years old and were left behind in the Temple, because He wanted to stay there in the place where His Father is. Yet, He obeyed His earthly parents when they looked for Him and showed their care and concern, being very worried when they could not find Him in the company of their relatives.

In the Holy Family, all of us can see how we all should live our Christian lives beginning from our own families. Family is a basic unit of our Christian faith and the Church, and without strong foundation in our families, and if our families do not show the true Christian character akin to that found in the Holy Family of our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary His mother and St. Joseph His foster-father, then that is where the beginning of the downfall of many Christians began.

We often blame the Church and its members, the faithful priests and servants of God for the troubles that befell the Church, as well as for the loss of its members, but in reality, that is because many of us do not realise that a strong and Christian family foundation are often the cause for these troubles. Have we asked ourselves, if we have prayed together as a family daily, during the time when we have meals together, and when we are about to do our activities?

Have we done all these? Or are we instead too busy and too preoccupied with many other things such as work, other attractions, things that often cause our families to drift apart? Have we ever thought that all the things we thought we were doing for the sake of our families, such as working extra hard for the extra money but at the expense of our interaction with our youths and children had made families to be broken and weak?

Let us all reflect on all of these, and look upon the examples of the Holy Family, that each and every one of us, in our own families, may be able to grow better in faith together as families blessed by God. Let us also remember to put Christ at the centre of our family lives, or else, our families will be easily unravelled, because Christ should and indeed is the foundation of our Christian families.

May the Lord bless our families, and make them holy, in the imitation and following the example of His own most blessed and holy Family, so that each and every one of us may practice the same love and care that Mary and Joseph had shown Him, and also have peace and harmony in all the things we do together. May the Lord be with us and our families, now and forevermore. Amen.

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