Monday, December 29, 2008

Feast of the Holy Family

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14
Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Lk 2:22-40

The family has great power. It is after all the basic building block of our society. The family is where we learn about relationships, where we learn to get along with others. The family is where we learn to share, or not. Our family is where we are formed, where we are shaped. Our family goes a long way in determining what kind of person we become. Hopefully, most of us come from families that are loving and nurturing, which is what a family should be. Our family is where we should be able to go when we need help, when things aren’t going well for us. As those who read this blog often know, this past year has not been one of my best. Yet in my need I was able to turn to my family. My wife, my daughter, mother, sisters, brother, all of my family helped me to get through the trials of this year. I think, however that we need to re-examine our definition of family. During this year I have been supported close friends, people who were present for me and my family. These friends are family. But there is another family that I was able to turn to, the family of this faith community, this parish.
In the Gospel today Mary and Joseph, this newly formed family, this Holy Family, present Jesus in the Temple as the law requires. In the Temple is a man named Simeon, a man who has been promised that he will not die until he sees the Christ. When Jesus is brought into the Temple he immediately recognizes him. Simeon turns to Mary and says, “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Simeon is letting Mary, Joseph, and all of us know that this child’s family is much larger than just the Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This child’s family reaches out to all of us, and all of us are invited to be a part of this family. Our shared faith in the Christ makes us members of this family. We are called to be a place of love and nurturing care for everyone in this family of faith. We are called to care for one another and then to extend that care beyond our own community to those who do not belong. We are called to live lives of invitation, lives that invite those outside to come in. We are called to open our faith family, so that we serve a larger family, the human family, so we may indeed be a holy family.

Deacon John
Feast of the Holy Family
Dec. 28, 2008