god gives us the family to help us live out our christian vocation as his servants and his emissaries
Homily for the Feast Day of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, ©, Dec. 30, 2018:
Holy Mother Church celebrates the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on this final Sunday of 2018. The three readings show the values a family must follow and the gospel tells us that Jesus Christ embodies those values well and is an example for us to follow.
The author of the first reading from the Book of Sirach says that a child/children have positive duties to perform for his/her parents. The father is the focus but the duties are towards both the father and mother. The spotlight is on the Fourth Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother.” The author says the motive for the child to perform these positive duties is life. The Lord will give life to the child/children who honor their father and mother. The reward of such honor will be atonement for sins, children, answered prayers, and family harmony. The reward of atonement for sins by honoring one’s father and mother is new. Before this Jewish author wrote this, the only way to atone for sins was by sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem. This author also indicates that one must repent of one’s sins at the same time that he/she honors his/or parents. Then, one’s sins are atoned for. Finally, the author counsels children to be kind to their parents because God will consider such kindness as almsgiving and will remember it on the day of judgement.
The psalmist writes a declaration of faith that God will always bless those who are reverent. “Fear of the Lord” means a way of life that places God above everything and everyone. The consequence of following the Lord’s way include a wonderful family life.
St. Paul writes to the Colossians that God’s chosen ones are in Jesus Christ, so therefore, they must “put on” the clothes of Christian virtue. We notice what people wear so St. Paul lists the virtues that should be the dress of Christian life. Love is the highest virtue. It acts as an umbrella which bonds all the other virtues together and perfects them. The individual must be peaceful. The peace of that person has communal effects in the family and in the church. St. Paul writes that thanksgiving to God the Father through Jesus Christ is a way of life. It is eucharist. It is thanksgiving.
Finally, the gospel story of Jesus Christ shows the grace and wisdom with which He is endowed. This story shows Jesus’s destiny and His mission. This story shows flashes in Jesus’s boyhood qualities that will grow and blossom into shining virtues in a superior manner when He is a man. Jesus says His life and His mission transcend the human family. Jesus is going to the Passover. The next time St. Luke goes to the Passover will be during Holy Week, when He lives, dies, and rises from the dead. In the meantime, St. Luke writes that Jesus will return home with the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, and St. Joseph, His (adoptive) Father. “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man”(Luke 2:51-52). These two passages are all that we know about Jesus’s life inbetween the age of 12 and when He entered His public ministry at age 30. Jesus best embodies all the qualities and virtues the first three readings admonish us to follow.
February 12, 2017
October 23, 2016
October 2, 2016