Feast of the Holy Family
December 29, 2019
The Celebrant has the choice of many readings.
My reflections are on the readings I used.
God works in each of us though our families.
The author of this book in the Bible lived in the second century before Christ and was a pious Jew who was trying to show his people how they were to live. It can and does help us to direct our lives today.
As we listen to the words proclaimed today, we need to pray for the courage to, once again, not get defensive and say these words don't apply in our world today. But they are words that can call us to look at ourselves deeply and call us to conversion, especially if the words are difficult for us to hear.
While Paul was in prison in Rome, he hears that the faith of the Colossians was being threatened, and he writes this letter to them,giving them some practical help when their faith was under attack.
Often it is in the family where we need to pray to be able to put Paul's words into action. He writes about having compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving one another; they are easy to talk about, but at times difficult to put into action in our own families. Families are not just where we grew up, but they can also be the family of our neighborhood, our family at work, our family of friends, etc. Yet these qualities that Paul writes about are exactly the qualities God has toward us at those times when we fail, when we are not the presence of Christ that we are called to be; in other words, the times when we sin.
Sirach, as we hear in the first reading says...
The family is the place where we can learn of these qualities of God, these qualities that Paul speaks in his letter to the Colossians. But as the Colossians were under attack, so are we in the modern world. The family is no longer seen as the very necessary place to discover God and for God to work in us. It is in the family where we can truly see ourselves.
Yet we see more and more that the world says that the family is really not necessary to teach us all those qualities that Paul in his letter wrote about. The world seems to indicate to us that both parents need to work so there will be more money, more security, etc. for the family. It takes real courage to put the family first and to see it as the place begins God's work begins in each of us.
We can learn that our families are important to each of us. It is there where our faith can begin. It is there that we can see where the qualities of Jesus begin and develop in each of us.
Of course, the world challenges this.
Where are we in all your different types of family? Where are we with our parents, with our sibling, with all the different people we know or deal with?
They can show us out in ability to love when they are not as we wish. What a blessing.
We are called to pray for our own conversion, so we can forgive and have mercy and compassion.
Don't listen to the evil one who always says that the other person is at fault, and that that person needs to come to me first to admit fault. What a lie.
There can always be a need for us to pray for ourselves to have...
the ability to bear with one another,
to forgive one another;
It all starts in the family and continues to grow in us as we encounter other people in our lives. We are called to make God present for others. That is the special call we received at Baptism. And, if at times we fail; then God's mercy and compassion are there for us and we begin again. Don't give up. It is our way to eternal life!