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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Reflection/Homily: Feast of the Holy Family/Sunday in the Octave of Christmas (December 30 2012)

Reflection/Homily: Feast of the Holy Family/Sunday in the Octave of Christmas (December 30 2012)
Theme: The Glories of the Holy Family
Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family. It is not the celebration of saints in human garments but the triumph of grace and virtue. The members of the Holy family experienced several challenges like we are experiencing today but they did not allow these challenges to distract the peace, love and unity that existed among them. The gospel reading (Luke 2:41-52) presents us with one of such challenges – the difficulty of finding Jesus when he was missing for three days. Others include the misunderstanding between Mary and Joseph when Mary conceived without Joseph’s collaboration, the difficulty of finding a place at Bethlehem, etc. 

This feast is relevant to our present society when most families are on the verge of disintegration. It offers us an opportunity to reflect on the virtues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and see how we can apply them in our lives to make our individual families holy after their examples. To do this better, we shall briefly examine their individual lives and find out what lessons we can learn from them.

Jesus as the child in the Holy family was obedient to his parents and lived under their authority as the gospel reading informs us. He followed his parents to Jerusalem for the annual pilgrimage and participated actively there that he even  had to spend more time in the temple after the pilgrimage to learn more about the things of God.

From this, children should learn to be obedient and submissive to our parents and all those placed in charge of us. They should be disposed to take instructions from them and follow the good paths shown them instead of neglecting, disobeying or insulting their parents and guardians.

Mary’s attitude as the Mother in the Holy family was prefigured in the first reading (1 Samuel 1:20-22.24-28) in the life of Hannah. By her obedience to the will of God, Mary received a special gift from God which she in turn dedicated to God even though He was God-made-man. Humanly speaking, Mary kept herself pure and she found favour with God. As a mother, she gave Jesus every necessary support even when she could not clearly understand what was going on.

Mothers should learn to be submissive to the will of God with the spirit of humility and sacrifice. Mary was a good mother and a faithful husband. She treasured all the things she could not understand in her heart and kept praying to God for the manifestation of His will. She persevered a lot and never lost hope and faith in God. Her trust in God was never shaken even when she had to behold her son dying. Mothers should adopt the spirit of total resignation to the will of God in their families and allow God to direct their affairs instead.

Joseph as the father was loving and caring. He knew his responsibilities and was faithful to them. He was disposed to accept the will of God to keep Mary even after he had decided to secretly divorce her. He protected Mary and the child Jesus by taking them to Egypt at night. From him, fathers should learn to be caring, loving and be faithful to their responsibilities at home.

The family is the domestic Church and is the most important structure in the society. Today’s feast challenges us to uphold family values of love, peace and togetherness in the society. That is why the second reading (1 John 3:1-2.21-24) assures us of our participation in the family of God by virtue of Christ’s incarnation and participation in 
the human family. This relationship is concretely seen in the Church which prepares us for our heavenly home. Therefore, what have you done to improve the quality of the human family or the family of God on mission (the Church)? God loves you.

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