Christmas is essentially a family celebration in the same way that it is a celebration of family. Today’s feast, deservedly, honors the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We celebrate Mary’s humility and trust that the promise made to her would be fulfilled, we celebrate Joseph’s loyalty both in his gentle submission to the will of God and in his willingness to support his spouse against all odds. Most of all, we celebrate their collective commitment toward the care of their child, the son of God. In their responses they each shed light on those values that continue to make the family the bedrock of society. The life of the holy family models honor, long suffering, tenderness, faith, hope and love. These virtues are front and center in the first reading as the writer of the book of Sirach discusses familial bonds. What is true of our nuclear families is no less true of our human family, the larger society. In a world filled with so much anger and bitterness, hatred and division, disloyalty and betrayal, the values of the holy family challenge us to a civilization of love. Saint Paul re-proposes that option in the following beautiful phrase: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with and forgiving one another, if anyone has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you so must you also do. And over and above all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection” (Col 3:12-21).Yes indeed, love is the bond of perfection. As we rejoice in the birth of the Word Incarnate, we are called to manifest in our lives that love for which He came and died. Such a task would undoubtedly come at a high cost. Yet, we are encouraged to know that we can rely on the greatest coalition of heavenly forces that there is, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We solicit their assistance to lead us through the remainder of this year and to a new year full of hope and joy, full of peace and prosperity, Amen.
Happy New Year to you all my dear parishioners!