Grace to you and Merry Christmas!
The other day, I met a young boy from a broken family. He was very distraught. I lacked words to reassure him of love, love of God and love of neighbor. Love of family was, indeed, for him, an illusion since, according to him; “no one has ever showed me love.” His mom is an addict; his dad is nowhere to be found in his life. He has no place to call home.
If you wouldn’t mind, join me to pray for this young boy and many like him so the good Lord will intervene, through people, to restore their confidence, heal them and make them feel loved.
I would love for us to reflect on the blessings of the family and to do so, may we use the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as our point of reference. I understand you may be wondering, but that is like using the perfect to talk about the imperfect. I agree. However, since we have to begin from somewhere, and since today (in the Church) is a special feast day of the Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we could as well use them as our point of reference.
The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is called a Holy Family, because at the center of that family is Jesus. The child, the Holy Child, and ultimately, whom we Christians believe is God who is Holy, unites that family. Holiness is not so much an attribute of God as it is who God is. God is holy and everything God does is holy. Every home God makes a home is holy. Thus, because Jesus is in the family of Joseph and Mary, we say the family is holy. This is as simple as it sounds.
Hence, if you want to have a holy family, let Jesus, who is God, be at the center of your family. Make the child Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate, inspire and lead your family. Make him the center, the “author and perfecter…” (Hebrew 12:2).
Similarly, for the fact that Jesus was the identity of holiness in the Holy Family of Joseph and Mary, doesn’t mean they didn’t face the usual ups and downs of family life. Actually, from the start of the family of Nazareth, there were a lot of hurdles. Mary was faced with the challenge of having or not having a child who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. She must have felt like a simple girl (though she was espoused), having to deal with an unexpected pregnancy. She didn’t abort the baby, granting us the gift we celebrate at Christmas. How about dealing with the public who would be wondering, “Is she a harlot?” or the gossip, the name-calling and the uncertainties concerning the unusual pregnancy?
Consider Joseph to whom Mary was espoused. The challenge of managing the domestic crises related to Mary’s pregnancy, a pregnancy he was not responsible for; being a foster father of Jesus, providing food for the mom and the child when he was not ready for it, being driven away from his father’s land because Herod wanted to kill the child, and living like an immigrant, actually a refugee, in a foreign land. How about the reality of going unnoticed, the man of the house literally being in the background, when most men would have loved to have all the attention? Joseph was all the way behind the scene protecting the child and the mom. The Holy Family faced the usual struggles of an average home, but they kept God at the center.
Consider the sorrows and the agonies connected with the child Jesus, plus the constant traits to his life. Economic difficulties with the poor family, in addition to the final hours of death when the Mother of Sorrows, Mary, stood and watched her innocent child, Jesus, crucified. In all these, the silence of the parents amidst moments of crises was remarkable.
What I would suggest we take home today from the life of the Holy Family is the example of silence. If we were a little more silent, not hasty when crises come in the family, it would save us a lot of problems. This silence is a contemplative silence, a silence that keeps us focused and centered in Jesus, who is God within our family and his domestic church, where he instills in our hearts, especially during those turbulent moments – Peace.
May there be peace and healing for broken or breaking homes. Love for those who feel unloved. Amen.
God bless our families.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.