Feast of the Holy Family

12-26-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

Throughout the Infancy Narrative, we hear almost nothing about the things that Jesus did or said. Most of the time, we learn something about Him from the actions and words of other people and in the few events of the narrative. But from the beginning, at the Annunciation, for example, the angel Gabriel revealed Jesus as the Son of God (Lk. 1:35). At His baptism, a voice from heaven says: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. (Lk. 3:22) And in the Gospel v.49, Jesus refers to God as His Father. The finding of the lost Jesus in the Temple is the only event that breaks the silence of Scriptures about the childhood of Jesus. About the mystery of His total consecration to the mission that flows from His divine Sonship. (CCC, 534)

In Dt. 16:16, Three times a year, all your males shall appear before the LORD, your God, in the place which he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the feast of Weeks, and the feast of Booths. The Feast of the Unleavened Bread and the Passover constitute one event when all male Jews come to the Temple with their whole family. They travel in caravans, the men in one group, the women in another group, while the children can go with either group. At stops, the families meet again; this is when Mary and Joseph probably realized that Jesus was not with the caravan and stayed behind.

They find Jesus listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Initially, they probably wondered how Jesus could engage the teachers in a question-and-answer discussion. But their worries overwhelmed their wonder, how come Jesus was with the teachers and discussing Scriptures with them, with all the people amazed at His understanding (v.47). Because Jesus is not an ordinary child, He is the Son of God, and He grew in consciousness knowing this.

v. 49 Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my father’s house? St. Ambrose explains this verse: saying that Jesus did not scold His parents for searching for their Son; Jesus’ words intend to make them raise the eyes of their souls to see what is due to the One whose Eternal Son he is. (Expositio Evangelii Secundum Lucam, ad loc.)

As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, we reflect on the two aspects of this feast. First, let us learn from the Holy Family how to live our own family life. Please remember that the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is a model for us, and every family; is a school of life. Second, we are all called more deeply into the truth that we are all God’s children and members of His family.

The feast of the Holy Family begs the question: What runs in our family? Are we a praying family, a laughing family, a feasting eating family, a partying family, or a dysfunctional family? How we bring up our children leaves a lasting mark on our family from one generation to another generation. To imitate the Holy Family, our families must learn to love more, forgive more, embrace more, love more intensely, and leave the rest in God’s hands.

Today, a Family Feast Day: STAY SAFE, STAY HEALTHY, and STAY HOLY.