Holy Family Sunday
Recently, my coworker overheard her eight-year-old daughter explaining the figures in the Nativity scene to her four-year-old cousin. The eight-year-old stated that the woman in the scene was Mary. The four-year-old asked if Mary was the mother of the baby, to which the eight-year-old answered, “Yes.” Then, the four-year-old asked who the man was standing next to the manger. The eight-year-old replied, “That’s Joseph, but he is NOT the father!”
Of course, the eight-year-old was only half-correct. Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, but he is Jesus’ foster father. Even though Joseph knew that he was not the biological father of the baby that Mary carried inside her, he took Mary as his wife and accepted her child, Jesus, as his own. Joseph provided a home and the necessities of life for Mary and Jesus. Joseph protected Jesus from danger, raised him to be a faithful Jew, and taught him the trade of carpentry.
While Jesus walked on the earth, he was known as the son of Joseph, or the carpenter’s son, and Jesus never contradicted anyone who called him that. Jesus knew who his father in heaven was, but he also embraced his foster father on earth. In this way, the Holy Family, whose feast we celebrate today, provides us with an example of what it means to be a family.
There are so many ways to be a family. There are foster families, stepfamilies, and adopted families. We have work families, school families, and church families. Anytime a group of people spend time together, care for each other, and work together for the common good, there is a family. Sometimes new members are added to the family, and sometimes members are lost through death, divorce, or other means. But the family remains a family.
Several years ago, the parish families of St. Francis de Sales and Prince of Peace became one blended family. Then, in the last few months, we experienced changes in the administrator and music minister positions within the parish family. With the Holy Family as our guide, let us embrace Monsignor Richard Woy and Mr. Timur Mustakimov as members of our parish family. Let us get to know each other with open minds and hearts, care for each other as our own, and work together for the good of the parish family and the community at large as we continue to build God’s kingdom on this earth.
By Kathleen Foehrkolb