by Fr. Jared
This Sunday within the Octave of Christmas we celebrate the Holy Family. It is a time of year when many of us spend a significant amount of time with our own families. Reflecting on Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we see what it is to be a human family. We live in a time when families are defined in different ways. The Church sees that and understands that. We certainly believe, as the statistics show, that there are ideal conditions for a family, but that does not mean that anything outside of that is a failure. There are many loving families with single parents or grandparents raising children. A family is defined not by who is in it, but rather how they live and love.
The family is the basic unit of society and of the Church. The family is the foundation of society and of the Church. It is in the family that we first learn to communicate and we learn what is right and wrong. It is in the family that we first receive love and learn how to love others. It is in the family that we first learn to pray and forgive. It is in the family that we first encounter God. It is in the family that we learn to value ourselves and other people and things. The future of humanity depends on the family, its strength or weakness. Where the family is weak so too is society. It is from the family that every human being comes whether for good or bad. The family and its dignity must be upheld for the common good. Where the family is strong so is society.
If I had to sum up what a family is, I would have to say it is a relationship of love between a mother and father and children. This is not exclusive to single parent families. It is a love that reflects the love of God. How do we reflect that love of God? Putting God first in our families is crucial. So we should pray together as much as we can outside of Mass. St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians says, “Let the message of Christ in all its richness find a home with you.” Does the message of Christ find a home in my family?
What is God’s plan for the family? Jesus tells us that a man must leave his mother and father and cling to his wife and the two become one. In that union man and woman create a family. It is in that family that husband and wife love each other totally, freely, faithfully, and fruitfully. Children obey their parents. In all of these relationships God is made present. His love, his faithfulness, his total gift of self is revealed through the family. The vocation of the family is to reveal that divine love. Blessed John Paul II said in Familiaris Consortio, “Family, believe in what you are; believe in your vocation to be a luminous sign of God’s love.”
As we begin this New Year may we be eager to bring God into our families and allow our families be a sign of God’s love in the world. Where our families are strong, so is our world. May your families be strong by allowing the “message of Christ find a home with you.” Happy New Year and may God bless all of our families! Fr. Jared New Year Reflection “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Choosing To Live In Hope Henri Nouwen “I have found it very important to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. When I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God, something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me.
To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with the conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the sources of our fear.
Prayer O God, by the redemptive grace of Jesus, help us to give up our compulsions to control completely our future and to turn more of our