The Holy Family of Nazareth

It’s the season when families come to spend the holidays together. With the challenges of traveling during this pandemic, many use social media platforms to connect with family, virtually. Before CoViD19, we travelled long distances to attend family reunions, visit old friends and meet again childhood neighbors. It is timely and providential that in the middle of the holidays, the Sunday after Christmas Day, the liturgy focuses on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The First Reading (Sir. 3: 2-6, 12-14) reminds us to be most considerate with family, whom we love so much, 

God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority He confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother

The Lord reminds us how to treat our parents especially in their twilight years. I’m just blessed that when Mom was in her last days, my sisters were around to take care of her. In the same year (2020), it was our turn to take care of Alma’s mother before she passed on to the Great Beyond. Yes, in the same year we lost amazing mothers in the same way as we also lost both our great fathers in the same year in 2013. We are grateful to be given the opportunity to serve them in the best way we could.

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 2: 41-52), we hear from St. Luke the narrative when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem at the age of twelve to fulfill their obligations according to the Law. After that, they left thinking Jesus was with the caravan but the child stayed behind in the Temple.  When they found him after three days of search, they were surprised as he was sitting in the midst of the teachers of the Law. He was listening and asking them questions, and all who heard him were amazed at his wisdom.

Son, why have you done this to usYour father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for meDid you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.

The scene must be one of mixed emotions; imagine the parents have travelled with the caravan for a day, returned to Jerusalem and searched for what, three days? This must be such a painful experience for Joseph and Mary. So what do you think was the reaction of the parents when they found Jesus? St. Luke didn’t elaborate much on that for us to reflect on this ourselves. And yet, 

Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth and he was obedient to them.

With the fast advancement of technology there comes a time when your parents lose track of technological developments in their aging years. Take it from my own experience: most will not understand what you’re doing so they sometimes ask you questions about it. If you’re not patient and understanding with them, you may unknowingly take them for granted and hurt them, unlike the child Jesus at twelve. You may not be patient with them when they talk about the past a lot, or rewind stories every now and then. In this Gospel, Christ taught us how to honor, understand and be patient with our parents, for they rightly deserve it.

Surely, we’ll find comfort in the promise of Yahweh God, as can be read in the closing verses of the First Reading (Sir. 3: 2-6, 12-14),

My son, take care of your father when he is oldgrieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins —a house raised in justice to you.”

Let us pray that during this season may we realize how blessed we are to be given that opportunity to take care of our beloved parents, so that we too can share our gratitude to their never ending love and patience in raising us. Like Christ, may we remain obedient and grateful, so that in doing so, may we reflect the Lord’s goodness to Joseph and Mary. May we honor the Holy Family and follow their example of what a model family should be.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways.’ (Ps. 128: 1)

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