Homily for Holy Family Sunday, Year C

Emulating the Holy Family of Nazareth

Readings: 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 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. He is 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. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

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

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 severe threat. As an institution that is the nucleus of every human society, the family has suffered dramatically in our time. Consequently, society at large is suffering too. So, the church presents us with the ideal model of what a family should be.

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All the readings of this Sunday have 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 nutshell, 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: “Clothed yourselves in sincere compassion, kindness and 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. Suppose each carries out their 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 admiration. If the mother respects the father and nurtures her children well, things will go well.  If children are obedient to their parents, the family will prosper.

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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 the 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 overcome them all.

Today, Joseph 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 giving 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!

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Therefore, a Christian family is a family modeled after the Holy Family of Nazareth. As ordained by God the creator, a Christian family consists of the father, the mother, and Children. It is a family that sticks and prays and works together in harmony. It is a family that accords respect and dignity to each member. An ideal family must have love, peace, and unity of purpose. 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!

Maranatha!

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