Homily for the 1st (Holy Family) Sunday Of Christmas, Year B

Living the Spirit of the Holy Family

Readings: 1st: Sirac 3:2-6:12-14: Ps128; 2nd: Col 3:12-21: Gos: Lk 22:22-40

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

On this first Sunday of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Holy Family of Nazareth. That is the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Sociologically speaking, the family is the nucleus of the human society. It is a place where life and learning begin.

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Today’s celebration reminds us of the family’s specific and essential role in our lives. The Church teaches that the sustenance of our society depends much on the continuous existence of the family. Therefore, she presents the Holy Family of Nazareth as a real model for all families.

Today’s celebration highlights that an ideal family consists of basically a man and a woman, and if God wills, children (Ps 127). Any “union” other than this in the name of the family is an aberration. It contradicts the will of God, who, in the beginning, made them male and female. He did not take the ribs of Adam to create another man for Adam. Instead, from Adam’s ribs, he created a biologically and functionally different being, a woman (Gen 1 and 2).

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This celebration comes at the most appropriate time when this sacred institution is threatened by all sorts of unhealthy ideologies and social practices. The call today is for us to rise and to emulate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

The first reading of this Sunday explicitly outlines the three different components of a family, the Father, “the first arm,”; the mother, “the second arm,”; and children, “the third arm” of the family. Each is important and unique in their positions and function. It equally outlines the status of each member in relation to one another. In this reading, the roles of children towards their parents are significantly stressed. This role centers on honor, obedience, and humility.

In today’s second reading, Paul reminds us of very significant virtues that are very important to sustain our families. Any family where these exist would remain united. They include compassion, kindness, humility, patience, peace, forgiveness, and love.

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Today’s gospel also presents the Holy Family. In addition to the virtues that Paul enumerated above, there are two fundamental characteristics of the Holy family: praying and working together. This reminds us of the saying that “a family that prays together, stays together.” 

Together, Mary and Joseph took their son Jesus to the temple for consecration. They acted and prayed together for the good of their family.

When Herod threatened their baby, they decided together in prayers to flee to Egypt. This is an essential virtue to emulate from them. Mostly, in our world where individualism has done great harm to the family institution. Praying and working together sustains the family. These help our families overcome difficult moments in life. This is true of the saying that “united we stand, divide we fall.”

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Finally, as an institution, the family has suffered so much in many nations.  It is already at the point of collapse. The only way to heal and restore its dignity is by emulating the Holy Family of Nazareth as our role model. So, let us pray: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph make our families be like yours.

Peace be with You!

Maranatha!

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