for Sunday, December 29, 2013
We have just celebrated Christmas a few days ago and already it is the
Sunday after Christmas. This is the day in our Church when we reflect on
the mystery of the Holy Family, the relationship between Jesus, Mary and
Joseph. This is not a normal family and yet it is entirely normal. We
know that the love between these two spouses was incredible and was given
focus in Jesus, the Son of Mary. We also know that Joseph was such a good
father that Jesus was known as the Son of Joseph.
It is this love between Mary and Joseph that nurtured Jesus as a child. It
was their love for God and their love for Jesus that deepened the
relationship between Mary and Joseph. Jesus was obedient to His parents.
It is that same listening to parents that forms children today.
Perhaps there is more challenge today when so many marriages end in
divorce, when so many children are raised by single parents. Because the
ideal is, perhaps, less present now than in the past, does not mean that we
abandon the ideal. Many of us were raised in less than ideal families and
yet can still recognize what the ideal is and why we continue to work
towards that ideal.
The first reading today, from the Book of Sirach, expresses this ideal of
the family in terms that we can understand, even if we might not express
the ideal in the same way today. Mother, father and child. Relationships
of love and acceptance and care for one another.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, speaks of
forgiveness. In every family (and in every community) there must be
generous forgiveness of one another because we humans always fall short of
the ideal. It is in that falling short of the ideal that we also mature
and come to understand more profoundly why the ideal is there for us.
Today's Gospel tells us of the flight into Egypt and the return and why
Jesus is called a Nazorean. This speaks to the reality that in every
family there can be crises caused by external events and measures must be
taken to save one another.
Let us give thanks for the Holy Family and let us listen to the love
present in the Holy Family. Let us ask for the healing of all
relationships in our own families and in our communities. May Mary and
Joseph intercede for us. Jesus has come to save us. Alleluia.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Sirach 3.2-6, 12-14
Second Reading: Colossians 3.12-21
Gospel: Matthew 2.13-15, 19-23
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: