A Place of Refuge

December 31, 2017 | N W | Christmas, Comfort, Faith, Father Salvador, Mary, Strength, Trust

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
December 31, 2017 – Year B
Readings: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 / Ps 128 / Col 3:12-21 / Lk 2:22-40
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

Last week I visited a family who, fourteen years ago, had a foster daughter who lived with them for a year. A few days before this past Christmas, this same girl, who is now in her twenties with two young children, called them up and said that she had no place to live. She is homeless and is having a hard time finding a shelter. Since she has no friends or relatives who would be willing to take her into their homes, she thought she would take the chance of asking them if they would have a temporary space for her. This kind couple simply told her, “You always have a place in our home.” She is indeed blessed to have a place of refuge during the cold season of winter.

Today we are celebrating the feast of the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus—the Holy Family. Joseph and Mary understand the plight of those who have no place to stay. When the Blessed Mother was about to give birth to her Son, Jesus, there was no room for them in the inn, so they had to settle for the stable. And during the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt, there were no decent motels along the way. Besides, they had to keep moving, because Herod was looking for their child, to have Him killed. Life wasn’t easy for Joseph and Mary, but they had faith that everything would be fine, because God was with them in their life’s journey.

In today’s gospel, St. Luke the Evangelist related to us that, after Joseph and Mary took the child Jesus to the temple and fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law, they returned to Nazareth where Joseph continued his job as a carpenter. He, together with Mary and their child, Jesus, tried to live a life just like any ordinary family in the little town of Nazareth. But since their son was God, their life was definitely anything but ordinary.

When Jesus was about thirty years old, He and the Blessed Mother were invited to a wedding party in Cana, Galilee. During the banquet, Mary noticed that the bride and groom were running out of wine, and she told Jesus about their problem. The fact that Mary was giving a hint to Jesus to perform a miracle tells us that she knew what her Son was capable of doing, just as all parents know the talents and abilities of their children. Mary must have already seen Jesus doing a good number of miracles in the privacy of their home. We now know the rest of the story: Because the Blessed Mother asked Him to do what she knew He could, Jesus performed His first miracle in public before the appointed time.

Not too long ago, I went to visit a very small church in one of the islands of the Philippines, so I could spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. When I entered the sanctuary, I saw a woman kneeling in front of the huge statues of the Holy Family, weeping and wailing. I went to the church office to inform the parish secretary about the situation. She told me, in a composed manner, that what I saw was a common occurrence in their church. When people have problems, that’s what they do: They tell Jesus, Mary, and Joseph about it. The church, where they can talk to the Holy Family in a deeply personal way, has always been their place of refuge.

In times of trials and difficulties, it is a wise move to ask the intercession of Mary and Joseph. They have been there, done that. They can understand what we are going through, and they will always lead us to their Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who will see us through the storms in our lives.

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