Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family, by Associate Joan Caldwell

HolyfamilyFirst Reading: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

How can I relate to the Holy Family?  Perfect mother.  Perfect son.  They probably had the best garden in the neighborhood, with Jesus multiplying the tomatoes and all.  I can relate better to Joseph.  Even then, there’s not a whole lot of discernment required when you have angels talking to you in your sleep.  I can imagine the family discussion…
“Joseph, why are we moving to Egypt?”
“Angel said to.”
“Joseph, why are we moving to Galilee?”
“Angels said to.”

Still, I remember the five minutes of horror I felt when I lost my 4-year-old son at Epcot, with my husband and I and Disney security guards searching the pavilion until we found him.  I can easily imagine their feelings when Mary and Joseph lost their son Jesus and searched for days all over the big city of Jerusalem looking for him.  Did he ever talk back to them?  I guess he did, now that I think about it.  Maybe the better question is, can the Holy Family relate to my family?  Did Joseph have any idea what it is like to provide for a family in an uncertain economy?  Did Jesus ever behave in ways that caused his mother pain and suffering?  Did Joseph and Mary ever simply not understand what their son could possibly be thinking?  Did they ever look at their beautiful baby with awe and wonder and thank God for the miracle that made them a family?  I think so.

Dear Saint Joseph, you also have known family life.  Both you and Mary lived as a happy couple by lovingly caring for each other.  Naturally, your mutual love focused on your child, the Son of God.  Like us, you were called to intensify your love in the midst of joys and sorrows.  Kindly protect the members of our family.  Like your son you know how to read hearts beyond appearances; help us to live in harmony by better understanding one another.  May neither pride nor selfishness stifle the affection that we have for one another. Give us the courage to always remain faithful to our family commitments, so that we may all draw closer to the Son of God whose Spirit lives at the heart of a loving family.  Amen.

Joan Caldwell, Associate
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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