We are celebrating today the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth acknowledging that God wanted to be born and grow up in a human family. God’s way of entering into this world was through a way common to humankind. In doing that he sanctified the vocation and mission of the family, he revealed the beauty of marriage and family, and the human love. God indeed, is a family, he is a communion of love, he is Trinity. Therefore, the family becomes the first context for the human encounter with God.
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (Love in the family) invites us to renew the importance of families and look at the complexity of the issues which are pastoral, moral, spiritual and doctrinal and are affecting the families. Today we take the opportunity to think of these complexities affecting the family and make it in a certain sense an icon of the Trinity. Pope Francis in “Amoris Laetitia” No 1. States: “The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the church”. Let us, therefore, take the opportunity today to renew our commitment and fidelity to this covenant and bring joy where it might be missing.
Some families today are lacking the joy because they are refugees. While we hear in the story of the “flight into Egypt” due to the fear of persecution, the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph remained together. Their example invites us to think of the families that are separated because of persecution, war, or violence, and pray for them to experience re-union and love. Again, despite the challenges faced in the families today, Francis reminds us that, “The desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and this is an inspiration to the church. And as a response to that desire the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed”. Let us make the proclamation of good news of the family as we celebrate the model family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to those families marked with mistrust between the husband and wife, that the spirit of trust may start to be experienced.
And from a feminist perspective, St Julian of Norwich has the following to offer to our families with her unwavering words of hope, “All will be well, and all will be well”. she sees God as the most loving Father and Jesus as the hard-working Mother who never tires to work for her children and can never feed first until she feeds the children. Julian sees Jesus in the Eucharist as a Mother ready to feed us first, to offer us his grace to make sure we are satisfied. Today we pray that with the words of St, Julian of Norwich ‘all will be well’ with our families. Let Joy, peace and trust, unity and Love become good news to the families.
May our Families become the first school of love, sexuality, generosity, forgiveness and knowledge of God and his church. May the widowed, single mothers’ families experience the God of love, joy and consolation. And may the richness and the beauty of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony elevate our families to that of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. May we have new and good marriages and families.
Joy and Peace.