Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This celebration encourages us to reflect once more on the importance of family. When we look at the Holy Family, there are many things the Lord wants us to learn from it. The first is that family is a divine institution of a father, mother, and children. Family is not simply a human construct where one decides the type of family one wants. It is not a designer good that is made according to our whims. It is not formed by a man and a man or a woman and a woman. It is formed by a man and woman together with their children. That is what Holy Family teaches us today.
From the Holy Family, we learn how to patiently endure the trials and sufferings of life. In the Gospel, we see how God did not shield the Holy Family from human pain and suffering. They had to go into exile in Egypt to escape from the murderous rage of King Herod. Joseph and Mary carried on through all with absolute trust in God. In our individual circumstances, we are all called to follow their example.
Many of our present families are undergoing various trials and temptations, sicknesses, misunderstanding, divorce, and other tribulations. We are to endure all with absolute trust in our God who loves us. As St. Paul reminds us, patience, forgiveness, and bearing with one another should be the hallmarks of our lives in our families. Forgiveness says someone “is the oil that makes family relationships run well”.
Our families should be filled with love. Sirach challenges children today to take care of their aging parents. I saw a message from Blair Schoeb, the chief executive of Areawide Aging Agency in Oklahoma, who says, “it seems like the number of people who come to visit their families is decreasing” and “at some point, the loneliness is coming at you like a train coming down the tracks”. This is a sign of the absence of love that should exist between family members.
Dearest ones, like the Holy Family, let’s try to rekindle love in our families by the way we care for each other both parents and children alike.