Feast of the Holy Family
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 Colossians 3: 12-17 Luke 2: 41-52
On the Sunday between the two joyous feasts of the birth of Jesus and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. The reading from Sirach is a message to the Hebrews and to us that we are to honor our parents. Paul then reminds us to love and respect one another. As the gospel is read, it appears that even Joseph and Mary had stress in parenting the Child of God, whom they have lost in that huge city of Jerusalem.
Parenthood is difficult, complicated and ever-changing. Parents often utilize the ways and means with which they were raised, as they figure out how to best perform the role.
Families travel together today as did Joseph and Mary and Jesus. Presuming that Jesus was with another family, soon turned into fear and panic while spending three days searching for Jesus. Then upon finding Him, he is blasé, and says: “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
The transition from extreme stress to total relief, to the unconcern of the lost child, must have been nerve-racking. This had to have been very traumatic for Mary and Joseph.
This vignette of the Holy Family provides an insight into the reality of family life. Parents and children have their separate lives coexisting with family life. As in the Trinity, the three are separate as well as one. In recalling the Holy Family today, perhaps we can take the opportunity to reflect on our role as a parent, child, and even the roles we play in the human family of the 21st Century.
Do these readings give us a reminder to examine how my words and actions contribute to the welfare of the families I relate to as I find my place in the world? Can I appreciate what Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived through as they experienced life in Nazareth, now that I have seen them in one of their most difficult situations?
Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, give me the graces I need to honor and respect all in my immediate family, as well as our world family. May family life be a nurturing environment for all children and parents.
Sister Dorothy Maxwell, O.P.