Last Christmas evening, Alma’s niece and husband came over with their three-month old baby. They shared that their baby awakes and cries every time she is put down after being carried to sleep. Like being equipped with a sensing device, most babies know the moment when they’re being separated from their mothers. They just know it. The bond is so strong and goes beyond infancy, even up to adulthood. This isn’t mostly true in other cultures, unlike in the Philippines and in most Asian countries. What differentiates us from say a typical American family is the values we put on family relationships. While we stick to home for as long as we can, this isn’t true in other cultures, who separate earlier from their families. And the Filipino father isn’t far from the mother as well. Marriages last longer here than in other countries across the seas. We usually look up to our fathers as the pillar of strength in our homes.
In today’s Feast of the Holy Family, we are being reminded of this family in Nazareth, who modeled simplicity and absolute obedience to God. They’re not the perfect family according to earthly standards: they lived in poverty, didn’t have a flock of sheep which was a measure of wealth in those times, nor were they endowed with high status in Jewish society. They were nothing in man’s eyes then. However, while they were simply that, they certainly modeled a joyful attitude overshadowed only by a complete and abiding faith in God and towards matters eternal. Though the angel foretold the baby Jesus’ coming, most women may still wonder how come God would allow them to live in difficult and abject poverty. Yet Mary trusted absolutely in God, and just “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Lk. 2: 19)
Joseph is the model of fathers and husbands everywhere. In some ways he might be like most of us fathers, generally quiet especially when our spouses are with us, yet he is beyond that: courageous, humble and loving. Imagine this: Joseph must have gained God’s absolute trust, such that God entrusted him with two of the most important persons in salvation history, right? He must be such a great and awesome gentleman!
As we continue with this festive season, may we always realize the importance of modeling our lives after this simple yet amazing family of Nazareth: Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
May the Holy Family guide us safely through this earthly sojourn with full faith and confidence in God’s will for our lives.