A Reflection on the Feast of the Holy Family
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The significance of this Feast reminds us that we come to understand the deeper truths of our Christian life. It teaches us about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph- and about each one of us and our own families. Through the first Sacrament that we have received that is Baptism, we are reminded to live our lives in Christ by living them in the Church – which is the Risen Body of Christ. The Church is the place where we learn, as the Apostle Paul reminded the Colossian Christians, to “put on love, that is, the bond of perfection”(Col. 3:14). Nazareth is called a school of prayer where we learn to listen, to meditate, to penetrate the deepest meaning of the manifestation of the Son of God, drawing our example from Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
The Holy Family is the perfect picture our local Church, which is called to pray together. The family is the primary school of prayer where, from their infancy, children learn to perceive God. An authentically Christian education cannot neglect the experience of prayer. If we do not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this gap later. I would like to invite you to rediscover the beauty of praying together as a family, following the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
The Christian family is the first chamber of the whole Church. It is the place where we begin to journey toward holiness and become more fully human. The Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, became one of us. He was born into a human family. That was neither accidental nor incidental. There, in what the late Pope Paul VI called the “School of Nazareth”, we can learn the way of love. The late Pope’s reflection called “The Example of Nazareth” is in the Office of Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours (the breviary) for the Feast of the Holy family.
From the beginning the Christian family has rightly been called a “domestic church.” In our life within the Christian family Jesus Christ is truly present. However, we need the eyes to see Him at work, the ears to hear His instruction and the hearts to make a place for Him to dwell. In our family we can learn the way of selfless love by imitating the Holy Family of Jesus.
The Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary is not only our model, it is the beginning of the new family of the Church. It reminds us that through our ordinary stuff of our daily life we find Jesus and discover ourselves. Pope Paul VI wrote: “Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like. Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. . Here everything speaks to us; everything has meaning. We live in Church. We were baptized into the Lord and now we live in His Risen Body as members. The Church is a communion, a relationship in Christ. The Christian family is the smallest chamber of that Body of Christ.
Family is where we find progress in our spiritual life. Whether we choose to respond to grace and develop the eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to accept the hidden invitations to learn to love beneath the surface of that daily “stuff” – is all wrapped up in the mystery of human freedom. Our choices not only affect the world around us, they make us become the person we will become.