• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 29 December 2017 10:27

Feast of the Holy Family - 2017

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

 

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150If only we knew more about this remarkable Holy Family!  The Scriptures tell us some things, but also so many things they don’t tell us?  However, the Scriptures do give us a hint as to why we can call Jesus’ family a Holy Family.  First of all we know that both Joseph and Mary were willing to accept whatever God wanted of them, even when they did not fully understand what was being asked.  Mary was told that if she said “yes” she would conceive by the power of God and the Son of God would become her son.  The angel persuaded her that this was possible with God and she was chosen for this special vocation, and so she said “yes”.  Joseph too was told in a dream that Mary’s pregnancy was due to the power of God and not to human failing and he was asked to raise the child as his own.  And he did this.  So to be holy means to be willing to do what God asks of us even if we don’t fully understand what God is asking and why.

The Scriptures also make it clear that Mary and Joseph (and the village?) raised Jesus to be a holy Jew.  They had him circumcised and gave him the name the angel said they were to give him.  They taught him the religious responsibilities of a Jewish believer and even took him up to Jerusalem for a special celebration (possibly his bar mitzvah?).  Judging from his adult life, we can presume that they not only taught him if not how to read the Scriptures at least how to memorise them.  Most importantly they taught him that to love God and to do God’s will was the most important commandment for a Jew.  So to be holy means to be willing to share one’s deepest religious values and practices with one’s family, however broadly one wants to interpret that word.

The Scriptures also make it clear that Mary and his brothers/sisters/cousins remained faithful in their love for Jesus even when he seemed to be rejected by others.  At one point they were worried about him because he seemed to spend so much time preaching and healing that he wasn’t looking after himself and was heading for a nervous breakdown and so wanted to take him home to rest for a while.  He wouldn’t go with them.  But they did not abandon him.  They were there with him when he was rejected by his people, condemned as a criminal and put to death.  So to be holy means to be faithful in love for a member of one’s family (again however broadly one wants to extend that term) and never to abandon him or her.

Today’s feast reminds us that we are all called to be part of a Holy Family.  Over the years I have known many families that I would call holy based on these criteria.  There are times when parents have to make some hard choices.  I remember as a young priest going into the home of a wealthy family and was surprised to find there were no carpets on the floor.  The mother could see the look of surprise on my face and smiled and said: “we had to choose between carpets and a Catholic education for the children (they had ten of them!), and we chose a Catholic education.”  They were a holy family also because they shared with their children their “Catholic practices” – saying prayers before meals, going to Church together, having certain devotions, etc.  I can still remember as a child often coming into the kitchen for breakfast and finding my mother kneeling at a chair saying her morning prayers.  We all quickly learned that our breakfasts on those occasions could wait – one didn’t disturb Mum with her prayers.  And finally they were a holy family because they were faithful in their love for one another, no matter what happened.  Their child may be gay or lesbian, or may have become addicted to drugs or alcohol, or even may have committed a crime and ended up in prison, but the parent never stopped loving and caring about the child.  That is what in the end it means to be holy – to be a holy family – and this is what we are called to be.

 

Last modified on Friday, 29 December 2017 10:36