In celebrating the feast of the Holy Family this Sunday, we can’t help but make connections and think about our own families. Certainly, this Christmas Season is a time we like to get together with our families. I hope it was a positive and happy time for those who were able to do so.
Overall our families are very precious to us but sometimes the relationships and dynamics within our families can be rather challenging. I am reminded of the saying we can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our families but where would we be without them.
'Being about his father's business'
How Mary and Joseph and Jesus came to be together is the result of a unique divine intervention- not quite ‘normal circumstances’ one could say. However, how we got to be here in the first place and to be part of our particular family is somewhat of a miracle too. And no family could be described as being the norm or being the perfect family.
The finding of Our Lord in the temple after several days being missing, today’s Gospel, outlines that even Mary and Joseph had a difficult and worrying time with Christ and didn’t quite understand what was going on for him when they finally found him sitting among the priests and elders ‘being about his Father’s business’, as he put it. We all have to deal with some kind of dysfunction and tension at times. It’s the way things are. As the first and second readings of today’s Mass encourage, despite the weaknesses and frailties we experience within our families we are asked to respect, support, and honour each other. Through acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness we will be blessed and forgiven by God ourselves. There is always something in our family lives, some difficulty, some contradiction, some tragedy which we do not understand. We can choose to act impulsively, destructively, impatiently, proudly – or we can store up all these things in our hearts like Mary had to do and humbly ponder their meaning, waiting for God's light to arrive. Sometimes we simply don’t have all the answers.
And isn’t it true that when we gain experience and have to deal with our own issues and circumstances, we become more accepting and tolerant of each other. I believe, that’s God’s light acting upon us when we can arrive at that place.
As we give thanks for the Holy Family today which enabled Christ to grow in wisdom, we give thanks for our own families and for our Church family with all their strengths and weaknesses and for all the wisdom and blessings we have received from the significant relationships in our lives.
I was inspired to write a song after being with a family who had lost their father some time ago. It was a real blessing to be with them and to share in the support they gave to one another. It is entitled ‘Family Together Here’ on track 1 of ‘Place at the Table’.
I will be taking a break from this Sunday Blog over January and will begin again in February. A very happy and blessed 2019 to you all.