The feast of the Holy Family follows Christmas. We fast forward to Jesus, aged 12 in the temple. His parents have frantically been searching for him. When they find him, Mary demands of him, Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety. Many parents I know can relate to the anxiety that Mary and Joseph must have experienced during the time when they had no idea where Jesus was. Many parents also can relate to them as they do not understand what Jesus’ answer really meant. The generation gap is alive and well in language.
We can put the Holy Family on a pedestal or we can seek for the similarities between our families and this one. I think that Joseph and Jesus had fun roughhousing. I believe that Mary tucked Jesus in bed each night and that they spent a moment in prayer together before she bent down and kissed him good night. I suspect that there were times when Jesus broke something and Mary had to catch yourself from losing it. I would guess that there were nights when Joseph had to go out to the carpenter shop and take a moment, trying to figure out what exactly he had gotten himself into by marrying Mary. Perhaps Elizabeth visited Mary from time to time and they left their men alone so that they could talk deeply about all that was unfolding with the children and ponder together what it all could mean. These are ordinary moments in any family. Our families are holy families too.
More than that, each one of us belongs to a holy family through our brother Jesus Christ. We belong to God and through God to one another. If you struggle with your family of origin or the family within which you are situated, know that you belong to another family – – the family of God. You can turn to God as a parent or to Jesus as a brother. Have a conversation with one of them when you don’t feel heard by anyone in your earthly family. They will understand what you are going through. Give thanks that we all have a family in which we are very loved.
What is your current image of the Holy Family?
Who can you pray to in the Holy Family when no one from your earthly family can hear your story?
Dear Holy Family, thank you for showing us that everyday, ordinary moments are precious. Thank you for listening to us when no one else can hear us. Thank you for binding us together as one family under God. Amen.