Reflections - December 31, 2017

“The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”  Lk. 2:40.
 
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family.  Today we will reflect on the challenges faced by the family from Nazareth and our family as well.
 
The Gospel says that the child was strengthened and grew in wisdom.  How was He strengthened and growing in wisdom?  In Jesus’ life there is a physical growth, but He received wisdom and spiritual values from Mary, his mother, and Joseph in that house in Nazareth.  He lived thirty years of family life being obedient to His parents.  He learned from His mother and He left her two virtues that she lived with her husband, Joseph.  They were the faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob fulfilling God’s project even to the cross and His humility serving as the “handmaid of the Lord” to the most needy.
 
In our own experience we also form a family, a fundamental cellular unit of society and of the Church, founded on the values of the Gospel and the example of the Holy Family.
 
However, today the stability of the Christian family suffers from different attacks that are attempting to weaken the sacrifice of so many generations of families.  Why is there such a crisis in the stability of the family?  I give you here some of the difficulties.  There are some couples that enter marriage with an almost total ignorance of sacrifice and sense of permanence without having clear “to what they have committed to”.  In some cases as Pope Francis says:  “No commitments are made for a long time, everything is temporary”.  The modern world speaks of “gratification of the senses”, however, there are many families living in our community that do not come out in the newspaper and yet give examples of selflessness and sacrifice.  Their spiritual nourishment is the Word of God, the Rosary, and the Eucharist.  They defend the life of the unborn and some even give talks to couples preparing for matrimony.  These families are examples of the Holy Family in their faith and humility.
 
I leave you here with this beautiful prayer about the family from Pope Francis.
 
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, in you, we contemplate the splendor of true love.  Entrusted in you we direct this prayer.  Holy Family of Nazareth, place of communion and cenacle of prayer, the real school of the Gospel and small authentic church.  Holy Family of Nazareth that never witnessed in family episodes of violence nor of closure or division.  That anyone ever insured or shocked would soon be consoled and cured.  Holy Family of Nazareth, make aware to all the sacred and inviolable character of the family and its beauty in the plan of God.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, listen and accept our plea.  Amen.