Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feast of the Holy Family - 2013

They didn’t have an easy life.

When they were engaged she became pregnant and he knew it wasn’t his child.

For a while they were both very anxious because he planned to quietly call off the wedding.

When they finally worked things out they were forced to make a long journey.

When they finally arrived at their destination she gave birth to the baby.

When they presented their new born baby in the temple they were so poor they did not have the money for a goat or a lamb the usual offering for a first born son.

They could only offer two pigeons which he probably had to catch.

At the presentation one of the priests made a troubling prophecy about the child and about Mary which bothered them both.

Finally when they thought things were going to be ok three men from the east came looking for their son.

They brought him gifts and a warning that the child was in grave danger.

So just when they had gotten settled they had to flee for their lives to Egypt a strange and foreign land.

When the people who sought to kill thier child were dead they returned home.

Finally after all of that confusion and fleeing and fear they thought everything was going well.

Then when he was 12 their son disappeared

They searched from him for 3 days and were besides themselves. Losing a child for three days can be a life changing event.

Finally found him, he didn’t seem to understand why they were so upset.

We don’t know the when it happened or how it happened but at some point the father died leaving the son and him mother alone with their extended family.

Fast forward 20 years, when it became clear that God was calling the son to a special mission it was necessary for him to leave his mother in the care of relatives and follow God’s call.

There were towns and places where he became famous and was accepted and there were towns and places where the people wanted to kill him.

He was often gone from home for a long time which grieved and concerned his mother who worried about him.

Finally he was arrested by the religious leaders of his time tortured and sentenced to death.

His mother stood by him till the end as he died on the cross.

And indeed the sword of grief pierced his Mother’s heart.

You know sometimes we think that Saints have easy lives after all they are holy.

We fail to recognize that we quite often things don’t go well for saints either.

There is not a family in this parish that doesn’t have problems.

There is not a family in this parish which doesn’t wish that things could be different for someone they love.

You all know that my little narrative was about the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph when you think about it they lived very difficult lives but they managed to remain saints.

Today the Church calls us to ask ourselves

How did they face all their challenges and still remain the holy family and how can we do the same?

I would propose to you three things that we need to imitate.

It should be obvious that they constantly tried to discern God’s will in their lives.

Before they settled on a course of action they prayed and asked themselves what is the right thing to do?

What does God want me to do ?

Once they figured out what God wanted them to do they tried to follow it to the fullest even when it was inconvenient or discouraging.

Finally throughout their lives they did their best to trust

Trust God even when they were fleeing to Egypt

Trust God even when Joseph passed away

Trust God even when Jesus and Mary understood that he had to leave home

Trust God even when Jesus had to face the horror of the Cross.

Yes today the Church calls us to meditate on the Holy Family and do everything in our power to follow their good example no matter what life throws our way.

May our prayer for ourselves and our loved ones be

Jesus Mary and Joseph Help us live good holy generous lives

Help us and our loved ones become holy families.


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