FRIDAY, CHRISTMAS OCTAVE (Feast of the Holy Family)
Sir 3:2-6,12-14 or Col 3:12-21; Ps 128:1-5; Mt 2:13-15,19-23
FINDING GOD IN OUR FAMILIES
The feast of the holy family is a feast for every Christian family. The liturgy invites us to model our families according to the example of the holy family of Nazareth. All of us are born and brought up in a family. As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, it gives us the opportunity to reflect upon our families in the light of the family of Jesus as the Model for every Christian family.
Today, many families experience fierce challenges all over the world. Many marriages fall apart because they’re not of God and the understanding of love is only on the emotional level. Some continue to stick together because of the fear of society. When a man and woman come together, there are many emotional feelings and excitement involved. Some fall in love and choose their own partners and others come together in arranged marriages. In the first case, most of the time, we let ourselves be governed by emotions; and in the latter, especially if the marriages are arranged by the families, we focus on status, money, dowry, family prestige etc. As much as these things are important, we fail to focus on one question that is important the most; can “we” or can “they” raise a family that is centered on God and grow holy together?
No family is perfect. Every husband and wife have their own troubles. All parents have hopes, dreams and anxieties for their children and are burdened with responsibilities for the wellbeing of the families. However, here is where true love shines. Our love cannot be based only on emotions, for when emotions change, it doesn’t mean there is no love.
What is love then? Love is not a poetically written postcard or a publicly proclaimed Facebook post! Love is a commitment, an act of the will. Love is “willing” good for the other and choosing the good of the other over myself. On this earth, love without sacrifice does not exist.
Today’s Gospel amply denotes that the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, truly holy, was not free from trials. Poverty, uncertainties, anxious moments, sudden changes, threats, the danger for life, tiring journeys, sleepless nights, living in an alien land. Many hard realities that our own families face many a time came on the way of this Nazarene Family. Truly, each Christian family can identify itself with the Holy Family and can draw consolation and strength from it. The Family of Nazareth was tested through fire. But God gave strength of character to each of them to bear it and face it. It is He who gave direction to them through his word and guarded it. “The Lord is your guard and shade. He guards your going and coming” (cf. Ps 128).
The Opening Prayer (Collect) of the day’s liturgy while pleading to God the Father, the author of family life to teach us to live like the Holy Family prays that we may be united in mutual respect and love. Love is at the core of the Christian family. Love is a commitment. The husband commits himself to his sacramental wife and she in turn to her husband. Both are committed to bringing up their children as Mary and Joseph did with the Divine-human child, Jesus. The first and second readings propose a way of life for every member of the family; that is respect for human life and respect for one another. Genuine love is out gong and self-giving in nature. It is essentially Christ-like, sacrificial. All three members of the Holy Family of Nazareth are champions of this commitment, mutual respect and sacrificial love. In a world like ours where selfishness thrives in all spheres, both parents and children have a lot to emulate from the Holy Family.
A family constructed on divine principles and a life of prayer will be able to hear and discern the designs of God for it. The husband and wife will be able to help each other to grow in holiness along with their children. The parents will be able to help the children to discern the will and vocation God has for them rather than imposing their own dreams and hopes upon them. And they will be a beacon of light to society
Response: Blessed are all who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.
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