We are still in the spirit of Christmas. As we celebrate The Holy Family; let us pause for a moment to look at the Holy Family and our own families and families around the world. Let us look at the joy of the family and the challenges of the family. Pope Francis said, “It is necessary to rediscover the plan drawn by God for the family, to reaffirm its greatness and irreplaceability in the service of life and society.”
The goodness and joy of the Holy Family are Mary and Joseph trusted in God and Baby Jesus was the joy of the family. The Gospel for the feast Holy Family for this year is from the Gospel of Matthew which tells us one of the challenges of that family. Mary and Joseph with Child Jesus in the manger, the angel appeared to Joseph and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.” The Gospel says, the angel appeared to Joseph, I assume Mary and child Jesus might have been sleeping.
We may not have to do what they had to do, but if we look at the families around the world, we may see thousands of families may have to flee for their child, faith or political reason. Are we aware of them?
Let us come back to our life. Another story of the Holy Family is the story of the finding of Jesus in the Temple. The Holy Family had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover; but on the way return, Mary and Joseph discovered that Jesus, who was only twelve years old, was not in the caravan. This Gospel passage was the reading for last year. Mary and Joseph searched for Jesus for three days, finally finding Him in the Temple amid the doctors of the law. When they found Jesus, the Gospel says, “they were astonished”; and Mary expressed her concern to Jesus, saying, “Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
As a parent how many of you experienced this feeling? Our days, even six or seven years old will say, “Mom/Dad, I know the way around.” When your teenager says, “Mom/Dad, I am old enough to know, don’t worry.” As a parent, you worry anyway, right? Can you think of a moment of astonishment? I am sure you can find lots of days you were in great anxiety. When a child says, “I know…” or teenager says, “I am old enough…” they don’t know exactly, but they are saying we are ready to explore/learn and grow. We have to look at it with astonishment, watch them grow. When Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple, what Jesus asked them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus asked the question, but still followed the direction of his parents and went with them. As a child or teenager, are you ready to listen?
Family is a place to learn to listen. If we want to listen, we need time. Do we have enough family time? It is not in the car, but at home, around the table. A time to pray together, a time to eat together, a time to laugh together and so on. The Holy Family was not in a perfect setting, but the model of our families. Our families are perfect. Let us ask the Holy Family to bless our families.
I would like to express gratitude on behalf of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, to all those who donated towards our stain glass window projects. It is done and looks beautiful. Also, you might have noticed some new spotlights, so we can enjoy our beautiful stained glass windows. Thank you goes to Tom Miller's electrics for donating the lights and doing the work. He is still working on to make it brighter. Thank you.