May the light and joy of Christmas and the New Year fill your hearts and minds!
This weekend we honor the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and recognize the monumental role of the family in salvation history. It is only through the context of family that God entered our nature and it is through the same context of family that we know Mary as Mother of God. Jesus and Mary could not have survived without Joseph to protect them and provide for them.
God chose the family as the place where salvation begins! The family is the first building block of society. God’s plan through nature shows that no child is conceived outside of a relationship between a man and a woman. This is the first fundamental relationship that images the love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This natural cell of social life is where the husband and wife are called to give themselves to each other in love and to give themselves in love to the mystery of the gift life, the family. It is in the family home that we all first learn about God, about authority, stability, freedom, responsibility, respect, justice and honor. In the family we learn moral values and how to interact with each other in ways that do not cause hurt or harm. It is in the family that boys learn how to become men and girls learn how to become women and that they are different than each other—they are not the same. The family teaches that men and women each have a special role to play and all need to give and receive the dignity and respect that God intended they have in their special roles. Family life is where we learn how to participate in society, which is the family of man stretching across the globe.
Today, our family of faith, the Church, needs holy families. As depicted in the scripture stories today, holy families regularly practice the faith with the community. Without them the Church won’t be holy; it will be weak and there will be a lack of vocations. Without holy families and vocations, society will drift away from God. Staying close to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph will always give you joy and peace! +++ Fr. Peter