The Holy Family of Nazareth

Feast of the Holy Family 2019

A married couple become one body, one Icon of God, a window giving us a glimpse into God; one revelation of who God is and they live the priesthood of Christ in a way that is not lived by the ministerial priesthood – their love for each other is the supreme image of Christ’s love for the Church.

In giving birth to children they reflect the life-giving priesthood of God the Father. A Christian family in turn becomes an Icon and reflection of the family of the most Holy Trinity.

Marriage and family offer us the various expressions of the One Love of God – espousal, fatherhood, motherhood and the childhood – each of which is found in Sacred Scripture.

The Hidden life of the family of Nazareth is seen by St. Vincent Pallotti as one of the most precious aspects of the life of Jesus. The inner family life that is private and not public, a hidden interior life that feeds all that we are and do when we go out the door of our home to school, to work, to play and to minister. What goes on in the privacy of the home, especially a Christian home is very sacred.

Pope Francis in his homily at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family points out that faith cannot be scheduled. Family life, human life cannot be scheduled in the way that we often want or expect it to be. The thrust and tumble, agony and joy, the mess and the tidying, the unpredictability of our home all contribute to its sacredness. God is in the midst of it all with us.

In a special way the family table is sacred. I love going to visit families where there are children, to sit at table with them and go with the flow of a child’s natural, God-given way of being. It is certainly an image of what we will experience at heavenly banquet – the abundance spoken of in Isaiah, the experience of salvation, the wiping away of every tear and the consolation of every sorrow. The vibrancy and love of parents and children sitting down together is an Icon of the table of the Holy Trinity.

Like all families, there’s a bit of tension in the Holy Family of Nazareth – between the twelve-year-old Jesus and His earthly parents. He is getting a sense of who He is meant to be in this world but Mary and Joseph in their distress do not understand Him, a familiar feature in the relationships of a lot of children with their parents. On the one hand the child needs to start discovering his or her path in life and on the other hand the child can only gain the necessary wisdom for life by living under the authority of parents. It was the same with Jesus who grew in wisdom and stature under the authority of Mary and Joseph, a necessary period in any child’s life and it might help children to meditate on and pray to the twelve-year old Jesus to help them through. It would help parents also to pray to the Holy Family to get them through many situations that might otherwise be impossible.