Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph
December 28, 2014 – Year B
Readings: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 128; Col 3:12-21; Lk 2:22-40
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday, I noticed that the three kings of our nativity set are moving. For those of you sitting near the altar, you can see the three kings are a little closer than they were at Christmas. One is hiding behind the flowers. Next Sunday, they will be right here next to the Holy Family.
After our Christmas Masses, I was happy to see a good number of families having their pictures taken in front of the altar with the image of the Holy Family. What a wonderful feeling to see parents, grandparents, friends and relatives gathered around God’s altar as we celebrate the birthday of our Lord. Quite possibly these children one day will continue this tradition – allowing God to be a part of their lives.
The First Sunday after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. It is beyond doubt that the lives of Mary & Joseph revolved around their child, Jesus. They raised him just like any other parent would do in their neighborhood. They ate together, played together, worked together and prayed together. In today’s gospel we heard the presentation of the child Jesus in the temple. St. Luke tells us that he grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.
If we continue reading the next few verses, we see a different side of the holy family – one that perhaps, we can relate to more readily. In these passages, St. Luke tells us that when his parents finally found Jesus after three days, Mary said, “Son, why have you done this to us?”
Mary’s agonizing question to her son Jesus has surely been repeated a million times over by many parents throughout the world. Raising children is certainly a source of tension and anxiety. Even the holy family was no different. They also had their misunderstandings and difficulties. And yet, this is a family that had the privilege of having Jesus himself, the Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, right there in their midst, 24/7.
So my brothers and sisters, this tells us that being a holy family doesn’t mean being a perfect family. It simply means loving and living together in harmony in spite of all our human frailties and shortcomings. Parents (and especially grandparents) make sure that their children & grandchildren don’t hear whenever they have a “spirited discussion.” That was the claim of my dad and my grandfather.
When we were at their house, before we prayed the Rosary, which was the last part of the evening before we went back to our own home just a few steps away, my grandfather probably didn’t know that his voice is much louder than mine. His whisper could be heard several yards away. But then, even after those “whispers”, when they finally faced us, they had a way of making it seem like everything was just fine and now it was time to pray. Everything was back to normal and we could sleep in peace and wake up tomorrow and start our lives all over again.
This is what it means to be a holy family. Even with all our imperfections and limitations, we always rely on God at the end of the day, and making prayer as an essential part of our family life. As Father Patrick Payton used to say, “The family that prays together, stays together.”