The mystery of Christmas is the mystery of God becoming man... the invisible God becoming visible. And God became man in a family, in the family formed by Mary and Joseph. Thus, Blessed John Paul II asserts: “The divine mystery of the Incarnation of the Word… has an intimate connection with the human family.”
Yes, Christmas is a celebration of faith, but our celebration today, the Feast of the Holy Family, reminds us that Christmas will always be a celebration of the family.
And so, we ask: what can every family learn from the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph?
The gospel today talks about the story of the Lost and Finding of Jesus in the Temple. We can learn a lot from this experience of the Holy Family but allow me to focus on one.
The gospel tells us that each year Jesus, Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. Jerusalem is where the temple is. Jerusalem is the center of Jewish faith
If we are to imitate the Holy Family, then we must be a family ever willing to journey towards our own Jerusalem; the journey to Jerusalem is a journey of faith. We must be a family willing to enter into the path of faith. We must become a family willing to know more about our Catholic Faith. We must become a family that longs to grow into friendship and intimacy with God.
Later on, Jerusalem too, is where Jesus met his fatal condemnation. It is a place where he suffered and just outside its walls, it is where he died on the cross.
Oftentimes, it is through the cross that faith grows and matures. Dealing with conflicts and issues in the family is not always easy; asking and giving forgiveness in the family are not always pleasant; working for family reconciliation is always a demanding task. But it is precisely in facing these with openness, honesty and faith that families grow in unity, in genuine love and true friendship with God.
My dear friends, it is still Christmas, but lest we forget, a re-reading of the Story of Christmas reveals to us the shadow of the cross. In the story of Christmas, we hear about the rejection from the inn keeper, the poverty of the manger, the killing of the innocents, the escape into Egypt. All these reveals that from the very beginning, the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph has always known trials and difficulties but these did not stop them to be united and persistent in fulfilling the will of the Father
Let us not be afraid for our families. Let us not be afraid to journey into our own Jerusalem - a place where demands for sacrifice will be found, but it is also a place where a renewal of love and faith in the family awaits.
Let us allow the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to lead us. Let us allow the Holy Family to transform us to become holy, Christian, Catholic, families. Amen.