Reflections - Dec. 28, 2014

“When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”  Lk. 2:39-40.
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Sacred Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
When this feast comes I remember when Blessed Paul VI went to inaugurate and bless the Basilica of Nazareth.  The Pope celebrated the Mass in the small house that tradition says was the Virgin’s house.  He was emotional and in his homily he said:  “I am here in this school in Nazareth, in this Chair, school of love.  If everyone would learn the lessons of Nazareth the world would become the prelude to heaven because here was heaven already in the land of Nazareth”.
Nazareth, school of “love” and school of family values, where Joseph and Mary prepare Jesus to live the values of the Law of Moses and the love of God, the Father.  Jesus, in his humanity, will learn about meditation and a life of prayer, piety, love, and respect for family and to love thy neighbor.
Yet the reality of many families today is very different.  They live with much selfishness and immaturity.  It is not very common for people to recognize how selfish they are!  They talk about the “I’ first and I sometimes think that the word self-denial is virtually unknown in the vocabulary of some families.  Of course, this is not the case in all families.  There are families who, from childhood, try to teach ethical and moral values to their children honoring God and making good use of our freedom by teaching their children respect for the elderly, the sick, the handicapped, the poor, and respect for the unborn.  A Christian family worries not only that their children and grandchildren go to Catechism and Church, but also help those families that are going through religious and economic difficulties.
As we end this year I invite you to reflect on how you are living your family life and to give thanks for so many blessings you have received, which we sometimes forget about.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom and teach and admonish one another….with gratitude in your hearts to God”.  Col 3:16.
I also invite you to renew your family values in this new year and that the family from Nazareth will show us how to live that deep joy of family union and union with God.