Holy Family (December 30, 2016)

What was it like to live with Jesus as he “grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom and grace?” We don’t know much about how the Holy Family lived, and yet the Church encourages us to live as they did. It would be easy to say, “I’m not able to be Jesus, or Mary, or Joseph.” The truth is: we are able to be like Jesus. We are baptized and we share the life of Jesus by grace. If we remember each day who we are by our baptism and ask God for the grace we need for the day and accept it, then we can live like the Holy Family.

Today’s scripture readings can help us to understand what that will mean. In today’s second reading, St. Paul offers us a model for good family relationships.

Because God has chosen us and loved us, we are called to live in His love. God’s love in us will take many forms in our living together:

  • living what St. Francis de Sales calls the “little virtues” gives a flavor to how we live with one another; showing heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility and meekness never grows old-fashioned.

  • at other times, when our own idiosyncrasies, or those of others, show themselves, patience can lead us to “bear with one another lovingly.”

  • even with the best of intentions, we can offend others or others can offend us. Remembering that the Lord has forgiven us often can help us to forgive one another from the heart.

Paul encourage us to wear love as an encompassing garment that perfects all the other virtues we try to practice. When we have learned to accept Jesus’ gift of peace in our own hearts, then we will want to share that peace with each other in any way we can. Thankfulness will lead us to live peacefully. Everything we say and do can be marked by our thankfulness. In this way, Jesus comes alive in us and through us He can touch everyone we live with.

All of us have lived long enough to know the personal effort it takes each day to let Jesus live in us. That’s why it’s important for us to come and be fed often at Eucharist and rededicate ourselves to living Jesus each day.

May our celebration of the Holy Family today be a gentle reminder that we too grow each day. We can grow is wisdom, knowledge and grace, as Jesus did. May our conscious efforts to grow today fill us with wisdom and grace. May we bring the love and peace of Jesus to all we meet, especially at home.