Sunday Reflection: Feast of the Holy Family
1st Reading 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
2nd Reading 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Gospel Luke 2:41-52
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. This celebration is very well connected with our celebration of Christmas. Here we celebrate the beauty of family life that God has planned from the beginning.
In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we can find the reality of human interaction. Human relationship is founded in the love that binds the family together. This, however, does not mean that there are no personal misunderstanding and conflicts of interest. In our Gospel we find Jesus staying in the temple while His parents were thinking that He went with their neighbors and acquaintances to journey back to Nazareth. But after a day of journey, they found out that Jesus was not with them. They went back to look for Him in Jerusalem. After three days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions. Here we can see the anxiety and perplexity of parents over losing a child. The words of the Blessed Mother to Jesus clearly shows this reality. But Jesus, reminds them of the fundamental truth of His being, He has to be in the house of His Father. Jesus reminds them, though they do not deeply understand, about Him as a person.
The story turns to another way, Jesus went home with them, He was obedient to them, and He grew in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. Jesus, knowing full well his identity, shows us that He has to be obedient to His human parents who are the Father’s presence for Him in this world. He loved His parents so much and His life was a manifestation of what love entails, humility and obedience. He reminds us that in a world who forgets to be humble and obedient, love can never work. His obedience to Joseph and Mary is a clear manifestation of His love. His humble submission to Joseph and Mary reminds us that it is only when there is humility that love can grow and mature. The love of Joseph and Mary for Him is the image of the love that unifies and bonds a family because it is never selfish and self-referential.
St. John in our 2nd Reading, reminds us of the love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God. Jesus has made us part of His family through His sacrificial love on the cross. Jesus made us God’s adopted children, and not only that He also made us children of Mary and Joseph through this adoption. We are made part of the Holy Family through baptism, and may we also grow more in love and be children of Mary and Joseph in the fullest sense by following their example.
May the Feast of the Holy Family be a celebration of family life. God, our Father, makes us one in the love of Jesus that the Holy Spirit pours out on us. May all families find strength in God’s manifestation of love, Jesus our Lord born of Mary through the Holy Spirit’s power and protected by St. Joseph with a fatherly love. May all families be patterned after the Holy Family.