Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14
Colossians 3:12-21 or 3:12-17
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
"He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled."
It is December 26. Christmas Day is over. Presents are opened. Families have gathered from near and far and the good news of the Christ child’s birth is known worldwide. All of our anticipation and hope for a happy, peaceful, holy Christmas as we await the birth of Jesus is set aside until next year.
But, today we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The baby who would be our salvation is born into our world and completes a family. I often look at the different artistic depictions of the Holy Family, mother, father and child, and wonder: did Mary know the hurt and agony that she would endure watching her son being beaten and crucified?
When a child is born either at the start of or an addition to a family, there is so much hope, so much anticipation, so many good wishes for a happy, healthy child; a fresh start.
I remember when my children were born; it seems like yesterday. I look and see what fine young men they have grown in to and think: was it really that many years ago? Something happens when people become parents. Suddenly you are responsible for a whole other life beyond your own. It is a huge weight of responsibility. However, with this responsibility is an instant love and a fierce, fierce feeling of having to protect this innocent helpless baby.
I think it is this instant love and protection that Joseph experiences and with the help of the Angel of the Lord, he takes Mary and Jesus in the night to keep them safe, to protect them from harm. "He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled."
A blessed Christmas season to all, and may the New Year bring you good health, happiness and peace.
Claire Smith is on staff at the Province Development Office in Chicago, Illinois.