Feast of the Holy Family -
Celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas

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Holy Family with the Infant Saint John - by MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban - from Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

 

Luke 2:51: " He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority." . . . . . . .

 

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The Sunday during the Octave of Christmas is celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Family. living.jpg (22232 bytes) After the celebration of the Birth of Our Savior, an event marked by miracles and heavenly interventions, we are reminded that Jesus, the Son of God, truly shared our human condition. Although wondrously unique because of the presence of God Himself in its midst, the Holy Family was like all human families. Its circumstances were similar to those of so many other human families. It knew poverty, uncertainty, even exile. And when the danger was over, it remained a Family, living modestly, in poverty, through the labor of its hands. Yes, the Son of God truly shared the human condition in its fullness except in sin, although He would one day sacrifice Himself to free us from sin.

Family life teaches us at a very early age how dependent we are on one another. To belong to a family is to dispel the myth of independence. This illusion often afflicts us as we enter adulthood, we can be deceived into thinking that we don't need anyone and that all that matters is that we do what we want. Sometimes this illusion afflicts us even later in life and we run away from our responsibilities.

With this Feast of the Holy Family, the Church does more than just exhort us with the words of Saint Paul. The Holy Family of Nazareth is proposed to us as a model for all Christian families. If the Son of God chose to accomplish His plan of salvation by experiencing family life, the Holy Family of Nazareth has a special significance for us. It serves as a model of what every family should be: a community of love and sharing. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were united in their obedience to the will of the Father: Mary said "yes" to God, Joseph too obeyed and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. Jesus too was busy with the Father's affairs. Obedience, authority, leadership, these concepts are given a new meaning by the example of the Holy Family. All without exception, wives, husbands, and children are called to mutual service. This is the essence of Christian leadership.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph never took one another for granted. How could they when their coming together was so wondrous. Our own family situations would be much improved if we took this one lesson to heart: not to take anyone for granted, to cherish one another as God's gift. This is what we learn from the Holy Family of Nazareth.

It is important for us to know what we mean by family consecration. The essence of consecration is conformity. It consists in imitation. By consecrating ourselves to the Holy Family we pledge with the help of God's grace to live in union as they did, intent above all in doing God's Holy Will.

 


Reflections on the Holy Family - by Father Francis L. Filas, S.J.

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