It is most appropriate that we celebrate the feast
of the Holy Family during the Christmas season. Christmas is a
time when families gather to exchange greetings and gifts with
one another. For all of us, life begins in the family. The first
significant relationships we form are with parents, grandparents,
brothers and sisters. Family gives us a sense of belonging. This
feast provides us with the opportunity to reflect upon the gift
and importance of the family.
In the second reading, St. Paul is calling the Colossians to the
practice of Christian virtue. He specifically calls them to “put
on” compassion, kindness, humility, and patience. Paul reminds
them and us that these virtues constitute the foundation of Christian
life. Do they not also say something to family life? The family
is the place where love, support, and encouragement are meant
to be given and received so that all members might grow to be
the best that they can be. Yet we all realize the challenge of
Paul’s words! Who of us could not be a little more kind
and patient with one another? Taking on the virtues of which Paul
speaks is not something that comes easily for most of us. We must
make a choice to be kind, loving and forgiving. We have to decide
to be kind to members of our families, neighbors, or coworkers,
even when it seems that they are not kind to us.
Today’s Gospel highlights the importance of listening. Joseph
was invited to listen to the message revealed to him in a dream.
He seeks to protect the child Jesus from the wrath of Herod by
departing for Egypt. In another dream, Joseph was told to have
no fear about taking Mary for his wife. We, like Joseph, are invited
to listen in faith to God’s plan for us. Listening is also
important for quality family life. Have we not all at one time
or another found ourselves talking with a brother, sister, mother
or father and eventually saying to them: “Are you listening
to me?” Yes, respectfully and attentively listening to one
another in the family can, at times, be challenging!
Let us pray today for all families and ask God to bless our families.
We pray especially for families divided by separation or divorce
or the recent loss of a loved one.
As Joseph protected his family from harm, we also pray that all
families may be kept safe and that parents will create an environment
in family life where children may know they are safe and loved.