Today, the Sunday after Christmas, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This is to honor Jesus of Nazareth, His mother Mary, and His foster father Joseph, as a beautiful and model family. The Gospel proclamation (Lk. 2: 22-40) reveals that after Mary and Joseph completed the prescriptions of the law of Moses, they took the Child Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law. Their family life is worth reflecting in the light of their humility, simplicity, and obedience to God. While the Sacred Scriptures do not present much details, surely theirs is a remarkable and perfect family. Although they may look similar to how the typical family at that time live their daily lives, theirs is also different in that they are a perfect model for families even up to the present age.
Amidst the current pandemic, today’s Christian family is a very challenged family. Loss of employment, underemployment, poverty, decent living and health, are some of the current issues affecting every Christian family. We see the same challenges that the Holy Family had during their time. They lived in poverty, despite their being “highly privileged” in the eyes of God. According to the Law, the prescribed offerings are usually lamb or goats, however; two young pigeons were accepted as sin offerings from the “poorer people”, and as purification offerings. In the Gospel account, the Holy Family fulfilled the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Why did God allow the Holy Family to be poor? Many of us find it hard to imagine the Holy Family living in abject poverty. Yet in His infinite wisdom, God shows us that the Holy Family, being poor is very much a “human family”.They handled all sorts of difficulties and challenges that life has to offer, to share our human experience that we may share in His Divinity. Despite the odds, the Holy Family was a very pious family. Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year with other Jewish families. They showed us that even in poverty, one can handle life’s daily challenges. Despite these issues, it is possible for one to be holy and obedient to God.
We celebrate Christmas because as the Church proclaims, we are reminded “Your Son shares our weakness: may we share His glory.” We celebrate the Season lest we forget that God loves us so much, that He sent His only Son to give us the opportunity to be saved from the effects of sin. In this feast of the Holy Family we are reminded that we can always strive to be holy, in our own humanly way.
Let us be like the Holy Family to the world. For our families to be like them, we must find time to read the Word. We must pray regularly to God. We must be obedient to His Will. The readings this Sunday provide us a glimpse of what God wants us to practice (see Sir. 3: 2-6, 12-14; Ps. 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; Col. 3: 12-21). Doing these will make us better families, holy families. Only then can we become the light of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to the world.
Have a blessed Season!