Today we celebrate the Holy Family, the ultimate unit of parents and child. The Holy Family reflects the Holy Trinity: Joseph is the earthly Father, Jesus the Son, the Word made flesh, and Mary, mother and their Holy Spirit, the love of family uniting them together. Through the love of his family, Jesus will grow up into his ministry to save all of us.
The readings also reflect the heartbreak of separation due to sacrifice and service. Hannah and Elkanah offered their son Samuel as a Nazirite, someone who was voluntarily consecrated to the service of God, because God granted her prayers (1 Samuel 1:20-28). John the Baptist left his family to preach and prepare the way for Jesus. Mary consented to be the Mother of Our Lord, but she and Joseph suffered greatly when they fled to Egypt to escape Herod, and then couldn’t find Jesus in today’s Gospel (Luke 2:41-52). They ultimately find him in the Temple where he seems at home.
So, whether we are whole or separated in our families, now it’s back to business as usual. Ordinary life begins to replace the magic of the Christmas season. Our celebrating and feasting will end soon, but our stewardship to God and each other continues. God calls us home to our families to remember who we are, restore our hope, and experience healing and wholeness, just as he gathered the ancient Israelites and led them home as one family ruled by one Lord. Now it’s time to let go, and let people go home, having put on the “bond of perfection” that is love, with gratitude (Colossians 3:12-14).
Let’s be grateful, then, for the love and sacrifice we share in our families that we can radiate out to others. As God’s stewards, let us also remember that whatever we sacrifice will be given back to us in ways we cannot imagine or measure.
--Jim Wollak, Parishioner
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