THEME: JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH – THE FAMILY MODEL
READINGS:Genesis 15:1-6; 17:3-5, 15-16; 21:1-7/Heb. 11:8, 11-12, 17-19/ Luke 2:22-40
Feast of Holy Family
Today, the child Jesus, Mother Mary and St. Joseph are presented to us as the ultimate model of family life. In the first place, despite the challenges they faced, they experienced the joy and peace which come with living together in selfless love and care for one another. Could you make it a New Year resolution to show more selfless love and care towards other family members so God may bless your family with joy and peace throughout 2015?
Secondly, is it not very comforting and reassuring when one knows that his/her family would support him/her through thick and thin? Consider how St. Joseph protected Mother Mary and the child Jesus by taking them to Egypt in order to escape the wrath of King Herod. Let us likewise do our best to protect the life and image of every member of our family.
Thirdly, is it not heart-warming when one feels most welcome by the family even when they do not understand or agree with him/her on some issues? When St. Joseph and Mother Mary found the boy Jesus in the temple, they did not understand his reply to Mary’s question, and yet their response was that of a warm acceptance of him. This is a challenge to us: to make a child, parent or spouse accepted and cherished even when we do not understand his/her actions or agree with him/her.
Fourthly, is it not a joy for parents when their children are obedient? And Mother Mary and St. Joseph experienced this joy despite the challenges they faced as mere humans handling the Divine Child; for after finding him in the temple, he went with them home in ‘Nazareth and lived under their authority’ (Lk. 2:51). If he who is divine lived under the authority of mere human parents, then whatever higher status [as doctors, CEOs, professors, presidents] we achieve in life, obedience to our parents should not disappear from our hearts. Sirach admonishes:“The Lord honoured the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honours his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. …When he prays he will be heard. … O son [daughter], help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives …” (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14).
Fifthly, are our hearts not full of gratitude for our parents when, in retrospect, we reckon the investments of time, treasure, toil and tears they made in our spiritual, moral, social and professional upbringing? Today, while the investment parents make towards the future social-professional standings of their children is commendable, the efforts of many parents towards the spiritual-moral development of their children leaves much to be desired. Parents should learn from St. Joseph and Mother Mary who gave the boy Jesus a spiritual upbringing not only by words but also by deeds: ‘every year his parents used to go to [the temple in] Jerusalem for the feast’ (Lk. 2:41).
Finally, let us consider the fruits that the investments (of parents) and the good efforts of the children may yield. There is joy in the whole family when children make good progress in life: be it a spiritual, academic or career progress. The growing Jesus ‘increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people’ (Lk. 2:52). And this certainly delighted his parents. Therefore, assisted by divine grace, let us all make good efforts to progress spiritually, socially, academically/professionally to the glory of God and to the joy of our families!
Have a Happy New Year with God’s blessings on your families, yourselves and your endeavours. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis