Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31 - The Holy Family

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph – December 31, 2017

I – Those who fear the Lord honor their parents.
R – Blessed are those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.
II – Family life in the Lord.
A – Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
G – Take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt.

+ On this Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I should like to focus on the person of St. Joseph. Last Monday we celebrated the feast of the Child Jesus, tomorrow we will celebrate the feast of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and so today it is fitting and proper to speak for a few moments on holy, just, good and faith-filled Joseph, who was chosen by God to be the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus the Lord.

Joseph possessed all of the virtues of a true holy man of the faith of Abraham and the house of David. And his most outstanding virtue, along with faith, would have to be TRUST! Joseph trusted God absolutely, implicitly, unquestioningly and immediately! In the gospel passage we hear that Joseph received news from an angel in a dream to take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt for the safety of the life of the child. Joseph did not have to question the angel at all; he awoke and did what the angel told him!
Then later, when it was safe, the prophecy : out of Egypt I called my son was fulfilled, when the angel again appeared to Joseph and told him to take his family and return to Nazareth in Galilee – to fulfill yet another  prophecy: he shall be called a Nazorean.

It was then that Joseph became the strong earthly father figure for Jesus in his formative years in the home of Nazareth. He taught him his own carpentry trade. He with Mary taught Jesus to pray and to observe all of the dictates of the Jewish religion of which they were a part. His loving example of husband and foster-father is a great role model for all men who marry and have children.

And the respect and submission that Mary and Jesus had to Joseph’s God-inspired leadership in their family was equally noteworthy. Mary was the ideal mother and wife – who trusted God that all would work out well for her family! It would not be easy later on – but with the support of Joseph for a while, and the community of disciples of Jesus after that, she would have what she needed for the remainder of her earthly life. And it is to be noted that Jesus, as a child obeyed Joseph without question or argument!

May our monastic family lives resemble the Holy Family Life – with parents and children (abbots and monks) respecting and loving and anticipating one another in deeds of kindness and helpfulness. And may the dynamic of the marriage of Mary and Joseph, be the model for all Christian marriages – which were sanctified and sacramentalized by their own Son, Jesus – where the husband cherishes and cares totally for the wife and children more easily, the more they each in turn trust in and submit to his prayer inspired, Spirit aided, decisions for their welfare.

Let the peace of Christ control our hearts, all of us; let the word of Christ dwell in us richly through FAITH and the TRUST that St. Joseph inspires!


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