Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are celebrating the great feast of the Holy Family of Jesus our Lord, and His mother Mary and His foster-father Joseph. On this day, in the midst of this joyful season of Christmas when we celebrate the Birth of Jesus into this world, we reflect on the family which Jesus had, the perfect and model family which all of the faithful should emulate.
The Holy Family is a family not built on glamour or the wealth of this world, but on love and rich with the graces of God. It is not just because Jesus Christ our Lord is one of the Family, but because of the active participation of all members of the family, namely Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Jesus was an obedient Son, who listened to His mother even though at times He told her of things which she was not aware of, due to His unique nature of both being God and Man. The perfect example of this would be the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine, listening to His mother’s pleas on behalf of the bride and bridegroom in trouble.
Mary, then, was a loving and caring mother, who was genuinely concerned for her family and first of all, for her Son, Jesus. Mary devoted her entire life caring for Jesus as He grew up from a Baby into His adulthood, ready for the mission for which He entered this life. She followed her through His mission in life and even unto His suffering and death on the cross. She stood by faithfully on the foot of the cross, just as He suffered and died for us, for our sake and to atone for our sins.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph was not related by blood to Jesus at all, but he was related to Jesus through his legal marriage to Mary. As such he became the foster-father of our Lord and Saviour. At first he had his sceptic moment when he found that Mary was pregnant without him even married to him yet. He thought that she was unfaithful to him, but Joseph was a righteous man and a responsible person. For Mary’s own good he wanted to divorce her quietly so that she would not suffer the repercussion.
Joseph was therefore a good father figure to Jesus, and the one likely who taught Him various things in life, educating Him on skills and even perhaps on carpentry. Jesus was likely also a carpenter as His foster-father was. He was an upright man who took his duties and responsibilities seriously. He protected his family well, and he brought them to Egypt to live in exile while those who sought the death of Jesus his foster-Son was around.
All of the members of the Holy Family therefore are good examples for us all. They showed us how we should behave as a family. A family is not built on just mere coincidences, arrangements, or infatuations. A family is built on firm foundation of love, the love that is the same as the love which God had for us. Yes, love that does not perish with goods and love that does not demand a return.
We have to realise today in our world that many of our families are losing their integrity and harmony, because we are losing genuine love in the family. More and more people today are only concerned about themselves and not about others. When members of a family start to put each of them and their own interests above that of the others, then things will certainly not look good for the prospect of that family.
In addition, if we note the readings today talking about Abraham and his wife, Sarah, who had been rewarded by God after many years of fruitless marriage without any children, with the promised child Isaac, who would be the father of many, earning Abraham what God had promised him, that his descendants would number as many as the stars.
Abraham was rewarded because of his faith, as was with Sarah. Sarah did have her skepticism as well, when she heard of the news that she would be pregnant in her old age and give birth to a child, and she even laughed at that. But, eventually, she trusted in God as her husband had, and for this faith they had shown, they bring themselves and make themselves to be a good, harmonious, successful and holy family.
This is another thing often lacking from our lives as a family. We rarely spend time together and each person are busy with their own business and things, so that we end up growing more and more distant with every passing moment. It is no wonder that fights and disharmony arose out of this situation. Remember that there is a saying, ‘A family that prays together, stays together’?
It was not written in the Bible or the Gospels that the Holy Family did this, but it is most likely beyond any doubt, from what we know of the characters in the Holy Family, that Jesus, Mary His mother and His foster-father Joseph often and regularly prayed together to God, at their meals, at the time when they were working, and at many other times.
If we, as a family, pray constantly to God, I am certain that we will grow closer to the Lord, and if we learn to love and be faithful as the Holy Family had been faithful, in how Jesus, Mary and Joseph played their respective roles in God’s plan for our salvation, I am certain, that we will have genuine love, faith and harmony growing in our families.
There will surely be plenty of challenges and difficulties along the way, but if we persevere, we are certain to be able to pull through together and emerge out as families even stronger than ever before. Let us all model our families on the Holy Family, learning to love one another, putting aside our differences and letting go of our ego and pride, that often cause division and destruction to our families.
Families are the basic units of the faithful in the Church, and it is through the family that we can inculcate faith in the future generations. It has been proven that a family that prays together, keeps up hope for one another at times of distress and stay faithful to the Lord will emerge in the end, as truly faithful and devoted children of God. It is often those without good and proper family background that lose out their faith, and as a result are denied forever the hope of salvation in God.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be like the Holy Family in our families, staying filled with love and grace, with faith and genuine devotion to the Lord, that at the end of days, all of us will together embrace the Lord our loving Father and be saved together as one family, and as one people. God bless us all. Amen.
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