Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family, December 27, 2020
My Dear Good People,
Today, Sunday, December 27, the Church invites us to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Feast was given to the Universal Church (that is, Catholics in every county in the world) in 1921 by Pope Benedict XV as a day to celebrate all families, and to underscore the importance of the family unit as a vital component of a healthy society. Certainly this Feast is as significant today as it was one hundred years ago, and for the same reasons.
Every family has its skeletons. Some may date back to Prohibition (my great-great-uncle Hector operated a still), or perhaps someone had a less than desirable habit (my grandmother’s sister Libby smoked Cuban cigars!). Even some of us might regret things we did when we were young.
Not to worry, though. If we read the genealogy of Jesus, dating back to Abraham (Matthew’s Gospel), and even Adam (Luke’s Gospel), we quickly discover that even He had colorful characters in his family. But God used every one of Jesus’ relatives to carry out His Will in bringing Jesus to us. And He does the same for us.
Most of the time we are loyal to our own families (that’s why I changed the names of my aforementioned rascally ancestors), because there is much to be proud of in our heritage. Some of the individuals whose names we whisper into our sleeve may well be waiting for us in Heaven, with their halos askew, basking in the beauty of the vision of God. We just never know. Thinking of our own personal struggles helps us forgive the shortcomings, however painful, of our loved ones. Reading the ancestry of Jesus makes us realize that no family is perfect, and gives us hope. When we ache over loved ones whom we feel might be ‘lost’ (so many of you ask us to light candles and have Mass offered for wayward children or siblings), we can count on the Holy Family to enfold them in the Mercy of God. Surely Mary and Good St. Joseph understand our heartbreak and intercede for our relatives, and ourselves, in need of the Grace and forgiveness of God.
Today on the feast of the Holy Family and of all families (including the not-always-so-holy ones), we ask God to protect our homes. Thank God for the joys and the laughter, the concern and the caring that make our families a gift to one another. Today, thank Him for the support we receive when there is pain, and the promise of the resurrection that gives us hope. Our families may not be perfect but we were born into them by the Plan of God. The Holy Family reminds us that we come from a long line of saints and sinners, and we are all beautiful in the eyes of God.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, bless our family.
Guide us on our journey to the Father,
and bring us home when we lose our way.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
keep us united in love.
With loving prayers,
Mother Marie Julie
and the Sisters of Charity
of our Lady, Mother of the Church