Today is my favorite part of this Christmas Season - the Holy Family. And the more I reflect on it, there more I am confronted with the fact that the ways in which we are called to the greatest holiness, also tend to be the ways in which we tend to spiral out of control. And let’s be honest, so often family life is a little messed up - to say the least.
But it was the same for the Holy Family. Things like Jesus running away in the Gospel today, Joseph dying, Mary being left to raise Jesus alone, not to mention all the crazy around Jesus even being born - talk about anxiety and stress - the Holy Family knew it all, just as we all do. Don’t romanticism them. Let them be human, just as they are - just as we need them to be.
Because it’s in their humanness that they found holiness - not apart from it - but in the midst of their miracles and messes, they became holy. What makes a family Holy is its willingness to surrender to the purpose of God.
And our Scriptures speak of that today, especially in family life - Holiness is about forgiveness and mercy and love - despite the anger, the frustration, the impatience, the disappointment, the hurtedness, the resentment, the deep wounds which often can mark our families - its about being who God shows us to be. And that is a road of heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, endurance in trials, and perhaps most of all forgiveness. And that ain’t easy!
Cause our lives aren’t perfect, neither are our marriages, neither are our families - but it’s in that imperfection, in that brokenness, that we have an opportunity for holiness - to become the people God calls us to be - to allow love to be something more than good intentions.
It’s why we try to do everything we can around here to support families, to support marriages - like our evenings for married couples next month - there’s more info on that in the bulletin - and yes, that’s a plug. And our Council of Families and all the activities they provide. All of it because we all need holy marriages, holy families, because they make holy parishes - holy communities.
Christmas isn’t over - there’s more than 2 weeks left. Whatever your family is or isn’t - come down and pray at this manger scene - pray that somehow in the midst of your imperfection, you can offer it to God and allow your brokenness to be an opportunity for holiness - for surrender - for forgiveness - for love.
There’s a quote attributed to Mother Teresa that says ‘if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.’
Let’s pray for the grace to do that. God help us all. +