A Holy Family

December 27, 2015 | HNMWebmaster | Christmas, Commitment, Deacon Eddie, Eternal Life, Family, Homilies, Love, Mary, Saints, St. Joseph, St. Luke

IMG_7049Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
December 27, 2015 – Year C

Readings: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 / Psalm 84 / Col 3:12-21 / Lk 2:41-52
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. You may be wondering why the church has all these feasts. It’s an opportunity for us to take a look at figures from our past or an aspect of our faith, to reflect on their lives and what their lives mean to us today.

Now if I asked you to name Holy Family, I’m sure most of you would say it’s Jesus, Mary and Joseph. But if we consider scripture and we take a look at it closely, really we should respond that the Holy Family was Joseph, Mary and Jesus. We can learn a lot if we take a look at their lives as reflected in scripture.

Let’s start with Joseph. There’s not a whole lot said about Joseph in scripture. In fact the gospel today is the last time that Joseph is explicitly mentioned during the life of Jesus when he’s 12 years old. But even though there’s not a lot said, one of the most important things that are said is that he was a righteous man. That, in and of itself, would be enough because that means that he loved God and that he did all that he could to follow the will of God in his life.

If we look, we can actually glean some more information about Joseph. We know that he was a kind and caring person. If you think back to the gospel a few weeks, Joseph had discovered that Mary was pregnant. He could have chosen to make things really difficult for Mary because conceiving a child out of wedlock in that culture was extremely taboo. Think to the story of Jesus when they brought the woman to him who was caught in adultery and they wanted to stone her. Joseph could have chosen that path. But even before the angel appeared to him, and told him of God’s plan, Joseph was just going to try to take care of it quietly because he didn’t want to bring shame on Mary. We also know that Joseph loved his family more than he loved his things. When the life of Jesus was threatened by Herod, Joseph left everything and took his family to Egypt.

We can learn a little bit more about Mary. We know from the scriptures that Mary trusted God. Put yourself in her place and picture an angel appearing to you and telling you that you’re going to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She could have freaked out. She could have said, “No, no, no, no, no, I don’t want any part of that.” But instead she said, “May it be done to me according to your word.” We also know that she supported her son throughout his entire life. The scriptures, time and time again, tell us that Mary was with Jesus during his ministry. She supported him to the end because she was sitting at the foot of the cross at his crucifixion after virtually all of his other followers had abandoned him. And we also know that she supported the people around her, especially Jesus’ followers, even after he was gone.
She was there with them in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon them.

Now, scripture tells us an immense amount about Jesus. In fact, He is the point of the scriptures. But it also tells us a lot about what kind of a son he was. It tells us in the scriptures today that He was obedient to his parents. He submitted to their will. The Gospels tell us that He took his identity from his family. The people in His hometown knew him as the carpenter’s son. We also know that He considered the advice of his mother even after He was an adult.

Think of Jesus’ first miracle when turned the water into wine. Mary says, “You’re running out of wine here. There’s a big party going on.” His response was, “Not my time.” Instead, she looks at the servants and says, “Just do what he tells you.” You can picture Jesus maybe thinking, “OK.”

Now I’m sure we have an image of the Holy Family. It’s all throughout art. This is a classic example right here. The Nativity Scene; it’s in churches all throughout the world at this time of year. But I would point out to you that this is probably a more accurate representation of what the Holy Family looked like. It’s not as pretty as we sometimes think because life then, like now, was hard. It’s dirty and it’s messy. This is probably more what they looked like when they were running for their lives to Egypt. Joseph probably looked a lot like this after a hard day in the carpentry shop.

And we also need to keep in mind that “Holy Family” does not mean that they necessarily got along all the time. I’m sure Mary and Joseph saw things differently. It wouldn’t surprise me even if Joseph made faces at Mary behind her back sometimes. Not that I would ever do that.

Being holy means keeping God in our lives. It means supporting each other. It means having the best interest of the other and putting it above our own interest. Each one of us in our family has one job and it’s quite simple. Each one of us – our job – is to do everything we can to get our family members to Heaven, to help them become Saints. Even though life is hard and it’s difficult and it’s dirty; even though we don’t agree all the time, we need to keep their best interest at heart and work hard so that we can all meet our ultimate goal. Each one of us today in our lives looks more like that statue there. But if we work together and if we keep God as the focus of our lives, when we reach our goal to get to Heaven, we will be together and we will look more like the Nativity scene in its perfection.