Feast of the Holy Family
December 28-29, 2019
When I reflect on the Holy Family, I see their humanity. Like all families, they faced anxiety, fears and problems. Joseph and Mary started their new life together with an unexpected pregnancy that threatened to bring them both shame and Mary, possibly death. As a result of a census decree they were forced to travel a long distance from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem. With Mary about to give birth, they had to overcome all the obstacles inherent with such a journey. Upon arrival at their destination, they faced uncertainty of where they would stay and were forced to rely on the compassion of strangers. With no room left for them, Mary had to give birth to her child not in a warm, clean home, but instead in a stable. Neither Mary nor Joseph could have envisioned this scenario. After enduring all of these hardships they were then forced to flee Bethlehem with their newborn son to Egypt; a strange country where they did not know the language or customs. As parents, Mary and Joseph had to struggle to keep their family safe, not knowing how they would provide for their family’s basic needs of food and shelter.
We see families in this same struggle today, fleeing their country to keep their family safe from the dangers and threats in their homelands. Uncertain of what dangers are ahead of them in their journey, they too are relying on the kindness of strangers. Will they be met with open arms or be turned away?
While many of us of have never had to face such a challenge, all families face some sort of fear and anxiety. It could be the loss of a job, illness of family member, death of loved one, or addiction of a family member or friend. The anxiety of not having control, the feeling of helplessness and having to rely on the kindness and help of others is something all families have in common. However, our love for each other enables us to do what it takes to provide and protect for family.
The Holy Family had those same feelings, but it was their faith, trust and love of God that comforted them and gave them the strength to continue on their journey. God was the center of their lives.
St Paul states it clearly in his letter to the Colossians, how God wants us to live our lives. We are called to have heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.
Like the Holy Family, let us put our trust in the Love of God and one another at the center of our lives.