Emulating The Holy Family Of Nazareth
Rdgs: (1st: Sir 3, 2-6. 12-14; Ps: 127, 1-15; 2nd: Col 3, 12-21; Gos: Lk 2, 42-52)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the first Sunday of Christmas the Church celebrates the Holy Family of Nazareth: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We live in a time when the family institution is under a serious threat. The family as an institution which is the nucleus of every human society has suffered greatly in our time. Consequently, the society at large is suffering too. So the church presents us with the ideal model of what a family should be.
All the readings of this Sunday are carefully selected instructions about an ideal family and the duties of each member in order to maintain the sanctity of the family. The first reading from Sir 3: 2-6. 12-14, in a nut shell speaks of the need for children to be responsible and obedient to their parents: Hence: “…He who honors his mother is like someone amassing a fortune. Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own.” In other words, in an ideal family, it is the role of children to make their parents happy. When they do, definitely a blessing follows them as Paul admonishes in Eph 6, 1-2.
In the second reading Paul outlined the qualities and virtues of an ideal Christian family: “…You should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and in humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins.” In a Christian family each member knows his duty and responsibility. If each carries out his / her duty well the unity and love of the family blossoms. If the husband loves his wife and children by caring and providing for them, he wins their favour and admiration. If the mother respects the father and nurtures her children well, things will go well. Finally if the children are obedient to their parents the family will prosper.
In today’s gospel, Luke informs us of how the parents of Jesus played their role in his upbringing. They continued to accompany him in love until he was mature enough to take care of himself. They provided for his needs and made sure that they brought him up in faith. They did this by presenting him to God at the appropriate time. When they thought he was lost, they looked for him. Indeed they played their role well as parents. Today’s gospel also reminds us that problems and obstacles are inevitable in a family. However, if the members remain united and courageous they will definitely overcome them all.
Joseph today played his part very well. So he is a role model for all fathers. He protected and provided for both the mother and the child. Mary also played her role very well by providing much maternal love that their son needed as he grew up. On his part, Jesus was not disobedient or problematic. He understood the difficulties that his family faced! Parents must live up to expectation; they must listen to God in prayer, and must learn to obey divine instructions from God for the good of their family.
Therefore, a Christian family is, a family modeled after the Holy Family of Nazareth. A Christian family as ordained by God the Creator is made up of the father, the mother, and Children (when it pleases the Lord). It is a family that sticks and prays together. It is a family that works and walks together in harmony. It is a family where respect and dignity is accorded to each member. An ideal family must have love, peace, and unity of purpose. In an ideal family all the members are happy. They understand, love and help each other. It is a family where difficulties and responsibilities are shared reasonably. An ideal family is a balanced family. This is the model of the family that the church presents to us and the entire world today. So, let us implore the Holy family to help us always live like them: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for us.
Peace be with you!