Finding Inspiration in the Holy Family
Dec 21, 2018
And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
I remember as a child, my dad had an old blue pick-up truck in our back driveway. It was one of his projects he was working on. My friends and I used to love to play both around and on the truck. But we were not allowed to get into the truck itself. One day, I decided to climb into the old blue pick-up truck and pretend I was driving. After playing inside the truck for a while, which was probably only five minutes, I was bored and wanted to get out. When I tried to pull up on the door handle, the door wouldn’t open. I kept frantically pulling at the door handle and pushing on the door. Nothing. I started to get anxious. Either I was too dumb or too small to roll down the window and climb out, or the windows were broken. I can’t remember—I’d like to think it was the latter, but probably not. Anyway, I was stuck. It was actually for a long time. I felt very alone and isolated in the cab of that truck that afternoon, until finally, the gate of heaven—our back yard gate—opened, and my dad appeared and found me.
An old blue pick-up truck is a little different than the Temple in Jerusalem. I’m sure my dad was just as upset and worried about me as our Blessed Mother was with our Lord. But I was just some dumb kid, not the Savior of the World.
Today, we honor the Solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. In the Holy Family of Nazareth, we see the model for all of us, no matter what our particular vocation calls us to, either in the traditional family of a man and woman and their children or in the family of the monastic or religious life. We read in the Gospel that Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph. They were no doubt obedient to each other in their diligent love and care for each other within their little home in Nazareth. St. John Paul II teaches us that Mary in a way was, ‘the first tabernacle in history’ (John Paul II Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 55). Our blessed Mother held our Lord in her body, her heart, and in her little home as well. The Holy Family lived in the constant midst of Christ. Also, in a way, Mary and Joseph were the first adorers of the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Family can seem like a tough act to follow, a tall order for us run-of-the mill sinful people. Mary, who is without sin, and Jesus, who is Lord, are hard examples to follow in our little domestic churches. But with the Lord’s grace, nothing is impossible.
We as people of faith must strive to see each other as other Christ’s in our particular family situation. We’re not going to adore each other, at least not in a way of making gods out of each other. But we can adore Christ in each other, being diligent in our care and protection and our love for each other. In the family, the mother and father are called to help each other get to heaven. They are called to become saints. Parents are called to help their children get to heaven, to help them become saints as well. We’re called to love and protect our children but also to challenge them. They are more than our friends. We owe them more than friendship. We owe them a love that is holy and desires what is best for them even when it may be painful for us. Jesus showed this love to us by coming into the world, which we are celebrating in these holy days of the Christmas Octave, and laying down His life for our salvation. This salvation is given to us in the Sacraments, and in a particular way in the sacrament of Unity, the Most Holy Eucharist, the Mass.
On Sundays, the Lord charges us to join our domestic Church, our family, to the universal Church at Mass. This is the way the two support each other. We come together each week to Mass to adore the Lord and show our love for Him. We come to praise Him and receive from Him the love and diligent protection from Him and the many graces He wants to bestow on us. I wanted to take this time to say, yes, bring your children to Mass! Bring them either to the Church or the Parish Center. We know it’s difficult, but it’s such a great joy and a witness to see you all at Mass together.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your families in this Christmas Season.