for Sunday, December 27, 2015
Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This is the Holy Family. It is an unusual group and has even more unusual relationships within the family. Over the centuries we have come to recognize that all families are unique, even when they share much in common. This family group - Jesus, May and Joseph - is really unusual and yet completely normal. We hear practically nothing about this normal family until Jesus begins His public ministry.
The First Book of Samuel, from which our first reading today is taken, gives us another most unusual family, that of Samuel. How can we imagine a mother, who has longed for a child all her life, then giving that child away to the service of the temple? Incredible! These are stories of faith. We don't always like them but they are given to us to show how faith can impact our life. A true family, in the Scriptural sense, keeps working at living from faith and building the family relationships in faith.
The second reading is from the First Letter of Saint John, and speaks about how we are all children of God. This can remind us of that Gospel passage where Jesus tells us that his mother and brothers are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice. In this sense we are all part of the Holy Family because we are brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers of the Lord Jesus. It can humble us to think this way, but we can recognize there are no perfect families. What moves us toward a perfect family is listening to the Word and striving to live it in our lives with faith and love.
Luke's Gospel today is the account of Jesus staying in Jerusalem and teaching in the temple when he was twelve years old! We can imagine the anxiety of his parents when they discover he is not with them. Yet Jesus does not apologize. Instead he states a simple truth: I must be about my Father's business.
For all of us this day, the deepest and most loving way of celebrating the Holy Family is to live as Jesus did: doing the will of the Father with love. Let us become truly the Holy Family of Jesus here on earth.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Sirach 3.2-6, 12-14
Second Reading: Colossians 3.12-21
Gospel: Luke 2.41-52
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: