Theme: LORD HEAL OUR FAMILIES!
By: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
Homily for Sunday December 26 2021
(1SAMUEL 1:20-22,24-28;1 JOHN 3:1-2,21-24; LUKE 2:41-52)
The world is going crazy! That is why before being affected by this virus of insanity, the Church reminds us of the true meaning of family. This Sunday, coincidentally a day after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. There are concerted and systematic efforts to destroy the family. More people want to change the concept of family. They want to redefine marriage as the union of two persons, even of the same sex. Some even want their dog or cat to be included in the concept of family. It might sound hard but that is a fundamental truth of our time.
The Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are put before us by the Church this weekend as a model for our families. We call them “The Holy Family” but that does not mean that they did not have problems. Just as every family must face problems and overcome them, or to put it another way, has to carry a cross, so also The Holy Family had to carry crosses. Their many crosses come to mind as we read the Scriptures.
The humble beginning of each member of the Holy Family is very striking. Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary, were not wealthy families. Joseph was a carpenter, a trade that was not highly regarded during his time. Jesus was born in an unusual place, a farm shed. Animals’ manger was his baby crib! We can easily imagine how misunderstood both Mary and Joseph must have been when Mary conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Their story would never be believed.
What of the flight to Egypt to save Jesus from Herod? The Gospel of today tells us the trauma of Mary and Joseph when they lost sight of Jesus for three days. Anyone who has lost sight of his or her child for a few seconds would understand the panic Mary and Joseph endured for three days. Pope Paul VI sums it up when he says that the Holy Family is a school of Nazareth where we learn true science of life and higher wisdom of divine truths. Therefore, the Holy family is a model for all families and all communities.
What kept The Holy Family together and sane throughout all these trials and crosses was, ‘Love for each other and God’. Jesus’ love for Mary and Mary’s love for Jesus, and the love of both for God the Father. We can see Jesus’ love for his mother when he was dying on the cross and was worried about leaving her behind, so he asked his close friend and disciple John to look after her. (John 19:26-27). What holds our families together also in times of difficulty is love and forgiveness. If ever our families fail in any way, it is because of a lack of love on someone’s part. Whenever our families are successful, it is because they are places of love.
My dear friends, I believe that the greatest threat facing families now apart from the threat for redefinition of the family system, is simply that we don’t spend enough time together. We are so busy working, or socializing, or watching TV that we have less and less time for each other. What a pity. Fortunately, most of us value the gift of family. We treasure it and understand its importance for both society and Church. We live in a fast-paced world, some with more than one job to make ends meet. It is so easy to get lost in our day to day living, and when that happens, we may neglect the family while we worked to provide for them. Sociologically speaking, the family is the nucleus of the human society and the place where life and learning begin.
Just as the holy family survived all its crises through love for each other and faith in God, let us pray during this Mass that our families will conquer all difficulties through love for each other and faith in God.
Happy feast of the holy family!
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
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