As we celebrate today the Holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the family model, let us keep all families in prayer. We pray for families remembering the words of the sacred council, “The joy of families is the joy of the Church.” We also the familiar saying, “The family that prays together lives together.”
The first reading gives a model of Elkanah and Hannah’s Hebrew family that prayed and lived together. A devoted family to the Lord, they went up to offer the Lord the yearly sacrifice and pay the vow. Their gesture of offering to the Lord, their son, inspires us to give our children a Christian upbringing for them to grow in faith and relationship with God. The parents of Jesus did the same to Jesus. They presented him to his heavenly Father.
John affirms the vital truth that we are all children of God our Father, and therefore we should live together loving one another. On this Sunday, when we pray for families, and through the model of the holy family, let us also remember those families living in fear and struggle because they have no liberty to pray together and express their faith in God. This year and through the following year, 2023, we shall continue to journey together as a church family that discerns to grow deeper in communion, participation, and mission. Through this synodal process, we shall learn to walk together as a family of God, listening to one another and supporting one another.
Let us, therefore, make God the center of our families, taking the example of the two families in today’s scripture readings. If Jesus continues to be the center, our families will live together with joy and peace. For those living in irregular family situations, may they find help from their faith communities, and those families living in elusive peace, may they rediscover the meaning of faithfulness and forgiveness.
Joy and peace.