Feast of Holy Family
A Reflection by Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
In his homily for the feast of The Holy Family Father Thomas Rosica, CSB of Toronto begins this way; “In the afterglow of Christmas, the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family. This weekend we are invited to reflect on the gift and mystery of life and the blessing of family life in particular. In Luke's Gospel we read the story of how Christ astounded the priests of the Temple when he was but a young boy. He had stayed behind after Joseph and Mary left to return home. When they discovered Jesus missing from the caravan, they returned to the templeto find him with the chief priests who were astounded by His knowledge. (Luke 2:41-52).
The reading from Colossians 3:12-17 instructs us with these words; “You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful. Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
I agree with Father Rosica that the readings do raise several questions for us and I believe them to be these; how are we, as followers of Christ’s teachings living those teachings? How do we treat those children of God that we encounter daily on our life journey? Do we discriminate against some of God’s children because we feel they do not conform to our way of life, are a different color, race, nationality or sexual orientation than we are?
That word made flesh, the light of the world, was Jesus Christ and he made it quite clear as to how we should live our lives in order to please the Father/Creator who sent him. We needed to; “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind, body and soul and love your neighbor as you love yourself” “Love one another as I have loved you” was what Christ taught us and he also made it quite clear exactly who our neighbor was in His parable of THE GOOD SAMARATON. Our neighbor is everyone on the planet regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation, married or single.
If we are to be true followers of Christ we need to treat all people alike and treat them with dignity and respect. We need to stop aggression and greed. We need to put an end to poverty and care for the sick, aged, and poor.
We need to educate all the children of the world and proclaim and acknowledge God by what ever name. Every person in this world is a part of the Family of God.
The Holy Family is the example of how families should be. Mary was the Theotokos, (God bearer) Joseph the descendant of David and earthly father of the Christ child was a faithful follower of the Jewish faith and a firm believer in the creator/God and accepted God’s will even though he knew he might be scorned for having “sired” a child without being married to Mary. Joseph heeded the messengers of God who came to him twice without question but with faith.
As the words in that wonderful Sister Sledge song WE ARE FAMILY say; “We are family I got all my sisters and brothers with me. We are family …. Have faith in you and the things you do. You won't go wrong.
On this feast of the Holy Family let us realize that we, every man, woman and child on the face of the earth is a part of the family of God. Let us strive to live together in harmony and peace. Let us seek ways to end injustice, poverty, homelessness, addiction, war and begin to care for one another as Christ cared for all He encountered.