Today we celebrate the feast day of the Holy Family. A day when we remember and venerate the blessed family from Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I think that the Holy Family is one of the most important feasts for our daily lives, because, last time I checked, every one of us was born into a family. Now, believe me, every family is different. We all have the crazy uncle, the angry sibling, the odd circumstance. We all see difficulties and obstacles in our families. So, when we look at the Holy Family it might be quite easy to just write it off: that’s it, off course they are holy, one is the son of God, one is the Immaculate conception, and the last was known as a righteous man and is remembered as a saint. Of course they are going to be a holy family, we don’t have a shot.
Ok, that is true. Not to burst your bubble, but you will not be a mirror image of the Holy Family. None of your children are the incarnate word of God, none of us are the Immaculate Conception. But, all of our families are called to be Holy Families. All of us are called to be Holy, we all living in families… therefore, our families are supposed to be holy. How do we get there?
First, let’s turn to the Holy Family for inspiration. In the Holy Family we see a blue print for holiness in the family. First, there is a tremendous trust in God. Mary was approached by the angel and she says yes to God’s will. Joseph was approached by the angel and he says yes to God’s will. Now, we probably don’t receive divine messages by angelic messengers, but each of us are called to know God’s will, to seek him in our daily lives, to grow close to him, to trust in him, to allow him to aid and guide us in our decisions. This is especially true in our family lives. Each and every member of the family must draw close to God. Each of us should have a life of prayer, we should lean on God and ask him for direction and guidance. Each day we should pray for the members of our family, by name. Each day we should thank God for the members of our family, by name. Each day we should pray for guidance, bring our specific issues, problems, and circumstances to God. Name them, pray for them, be open to God’s guidance. Just think what family life would be like if each and every member of every Christian family spent some time every day praying for the good of the whole family. I think it could be life-changing. So the first lesson from the Holy Family, is that each member of the family needs to trust God and grow close to him.
Secondly, the Holy Family would not be the Holy Family if it were not for Christ. Without Christ, you just have Joseph and Mary, good people, but not the Holy Family. It is the presence of Christ in the midst of Mary and Joseph that makes it the Holy Family. The same thing is true for our families. Christ must be present in our lives as families. Think about all the things you do as families: eat, go to sporting events, watch tv, go to movies, and go to Church. Prayer and spirituality as a family should be an important part of our family life together. I know that it is not always possible to go to Sunday mass as a whole family, but I do think it is important to have some kind of communal prayer as a family. I remember growing up we used to have family rosaries and during Lent we would pray the Stations of the Cross together as a family. These family prayer times are an important way to keep Christ a part of our family.
So the Holy Family teaches us a lesson about how to be a holy family. Each member of the family must trust in God and draw close to him. Also, the family as a whole must be committed to keeping Christ in the family. So, while our families will not go down in history as the Holy Family of Nazareth, our families can become holy families filled with peace and love.