Feast of the Holy Family (2018) Homily
By Mons. Peter Jeffrey:
Already Hot Cross Buns are in the stores. Not time to ponder and marvel at the Gift of the Christ child and our family celebrations at Christmas. Yesterday I was in a crowded tram in Elizabeth St. in the City. With barely room to move, a fellow traveller - swishing her bag of big parcels - told me of the bargains she had purchased. She had to jump off at the next stop to go to Victoria Market to search for more bargains.
This feast of the Holy Family gives us a further opportunity to marvel at the Divine Gift born for us. We are living at a time in Western Society when there are changing ideas about family and the various roles within the many new forms of family.
A missing child is a parent’s worst fear. It can happen so easily in a crowded supermarket – even in a small town like Mooroopna. While the parent may be in panic mode, the child is quite oblivious – he or she is enjoying exploring the vicinity. In today’s Gospel story Mary and Joseph lost Jesus in the capital City. You would not wish that on anyone – losing track of a child in a major city.
There is great encouragement in this episode in the life of the family of Nazareth. Life can get messy for all families – there can be misunderstandings, miscommunications and mistakes. These things are not out of the ordinary – they are part of normal family living. It is consoling and helpful to realise that Luke tells us not only that Jesus went down to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents but that He also grew in Wisdom.
One of the delights I have as a Priest is to see the joy of parents when they tell me about the achievements of one or other of their children. I also find myself empathetic when they share sometimes about the struggles a family member may be having at the time. These are the realities of normal family life. We can take great consolation form the fact the family of Nazareth was not immune to these realities of family life.
All families have challenges as the Holy Family did. We can face them and deal with them with renewed strength if we realise that the relationships we have in our day-to-day family interactions are our way to holiness.
In the introduction to our Mass the commentator prayed “God bless our home” – and then went on to say “a house is made of materials that are replaceable. However, a home is always established on RELATIONSHIPS – love, memories, joys and pains, births and deaths. No material compensation can ever be made for the loss of these.
On this Feast of the Holy Family, we pray:
“GOD BLESS OUR HOME”.