Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate on this Sunday after the Solemnity of Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus our Lord, Mary His mother and Joseph, His foster father. On this day we honour that sacred family into whom our Lord and God had been born into this world. This is a model family from which all of our families should model after, and we should indeed heed their examples to be practiced in our own.
As we are still in the midst of the joy of the Christmas season, surely all of us are quite aware of the stories and all the things that are related to Christmas, when our Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world. It all began from the time when the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary and broke the news to her that she would be with a Child, bearing the Saviour in her womb and thus becoming the Vessel and Ark of God’s salvation for men.
And then Joseph, the man to whom Mary had been betrothed to, found out about her pregnancy, and thought that she had been unfaithful to him and committed an adultery, and even so, he tried to salvage her reputation by trying not to publicly denounce her or shame her with the revelation of her seemingly out of order pregnancy. But, when the Angel of God appeared to him in his dreams and revealed to him the truth, he faithfully devoted himself to God’s plans through Mary.
And this continued even so difficulties and challenges faced them together, beginning from the time when Mary was about to give birth to our Lord Jesus. She and Joseph had to travel the treacherous and long distance journey from their house in Nazareth in Galilee to the city of David, Bethlehem in Judea, a distance and journey that certainly no heavily pregnant woman should undertake.
But Joseph followed on very faithfully and helped to get Mary to a place where she could deliver her Child, even in a stable. He protected the newborn Child and His mother, and when the king Herod the Great, who heard of the coming of the Messiah who was prophesied to be the King of the Jews and who was jealous of Him tried to kill Jesus, Joseph guided by the Angel of God in his dream led his family into Egypt until all those who sought the death of Jesus were gone.
And Mary herself loved her Son and her husband equally well, and they together lived on in peace in Nazareth upon returning from Egypt, and as we witnessed in the Gospels, they went together to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old, in order to bring Him to the Temple of God in Jerusalem and join in the festival that was occurring there. We can be sure that they prayed together and worshipped the Lord together.
Indeed, it is likely that it was Mary and Joseph who had taught Jesus how to pray and how to live a life devoted to the Lord and to His commandments. Both Mary and Joseph were devout servants of the Lord, who practiced their faith in all their words, deeds and actions. This is a reminder to all the parents out there that it is their responsibility to teach the faith to their children and to teach them about the Lord.
And we should also note how Jesus, even though He purposefully stayed behind in the Temple of Jerusalem, and arguing with his parents that He had to be in His Father’s house, knowing His true identity as the Son of God and the Divine Word made Man, but He still obeyed His mother and His foster father, followed them and obeyed them as He grew up in the reckoning of man’s years.
This reminds us that children should listen to their parents and learn the right things that they teach them. And this also shows that a family that lives in harmony and love will persevere and prosper. This is very important for us to note, as we now live in a time where the respect and the honour given to the institution of family and the values associated with family life has become lessened and lessened ever more over time.
Yes, we should all be aware how family values and the importance of families became eroded over time, and became increasingly so these days, where people could just mock the institution of families, and family life which was once sacred, had been seen by many people as merely a formality and as even a form of archaism and backwardness.
There are many who sought to destroy the fabric of families, and not least, one of the perpetrators is we ourselves. We have not understood what is the importance of families and how relevant is having a good family to us all. In particular, do we all know that families are the basic units of our faith and the Church? And why is this so, brothers and sisters in Christ?
That is because, as I have just mentioned earlier on, it is usually through the family that someone hears about the faith and the Lord. It is the responsibility of the parents and or godparents, as the vow which all of them had spoken at the time of the baptism of their child, which charged them to bring these little children in good faith and understanding of their Lord’s love and will.
A strong family grounded in good faith will be the foundation of a strong Church, and a strong Church in turn will safeguard its many souls from the attacks of the evil one and from the temptation to turn into sin and wickedness. It is the basic unit of the Church, of our faith, and the family is at the frontline of our regular and constant struggle against the devil and the darkness.
And indeed, the devil knows this, and it is one of the primary objectives of the devil to strike at the heart of the family, for if the family is destroyed, then the souls of the faithful will be in great risk indeed. This is why, on this great feast of the Holy Family, let us all uphold our faith through our family. Let us restore the strength and the harmony within our families, so that together as families blessed by God, each of our family members will be able to resist the devil and his assaults.
May the Lord Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, Who loved and obeyed His earthly parents and listened to them, and Mary, the Mother of God, whose faith and devotion were exemplary, and St. Joseph, foster father of our Saviour in his commitment and hard works inspire us all to do the same with our own families. God bless us and our families, now and forever. Amen.