Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
The story of the Holy Family is full of encouragement for those who struggle in life, especially in their own family life. The events in the life of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus help us to see what is really important in life. Their life demonstrated a listening to God, following God’s will even though that path would bring challenges. They remind us that wealth is found within our relationships and in how we relate to each other in our own family life and not determined by what we have materially.
The United States Bishops’ document, A Family Perspective in Church and Society, describes family life as, “the basic community of believers, bound in love to one another.” The family is a place where we are committed in love to one another, even in the midst of the struggles and challenges of life. By making Jesus the center of daily life, the family creates an intimate community of love.
A family’s path to holiness is built on love. Families are called to live each day centered on God by showing love, respect, and compassion for each member. In this way, the family becomes stronger in their love for God and for one another. Together, the family learns to give thanks, to share love, and to always be there for each other. As the family grows and becomes a community of love and sharing, it becomes a witness of God’s love to all people of the world.
May today’s feast remind us, too, that we belong to the universal family of God’s love. Remember that men, women, and children living in shelters or on the street are part of our family. Women and children who are emotionally and physically imprisoned as a result of human trafficking are part of our family. Individuals struggling with addiction and living in fear and isolation are part of our family. The thousands of refugees who have left their homelands to escape poverty and violence are part of our family.
As a new year approaches, let us allow the Holy Family to embrace us. May the Holy Family of Nazareth inspire and encourage us to live and show Jesus’ love and mercy wherever we find ourselves in the coming year. Be a witness of the Holy Family, not only in your own family, but in your community, in your city, and in the world.
Written by Sister Luanne Carmon, D.C.