On this Sunday, we honour the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. In honouring them, we also honour all families, big or small. We honour struggling families too, and in honouring all families, we honour the family of God, the Church, and our religious family. But most especially, we focus on the hidden, day-to-day life of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
The family home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would have been, in numerous ways, just like any other home. They would have related together, talked, had fun, disagreed, worked, eaten, dealt with problems, and encountered everything else that makes up daily family life. But love certainly would have been the bedrock.
I am quite sure this family would not have been exempt from the daily toil, hurt, and challenges that face most families. They must have experienced the loss of loved ones; they would have encountered misunderstanding; they would have had to fulfill all daily chores, earn a living, put food on the table, attend gatherings of family and friends, and the like. Joseph through his work might failed on some days to provide for the daily upkeep. They would have lived normal family life in every way. But they didn’t allow this to break them. That is why they are our model of family living.
This is significant because it reveals God’s love for family life. The Father allowed His Divine Son to live this life and, as a result, elevated family life to a place within the Trinity. The holiness of the Holy Family reveals to us that every family is invited to share in God’s divine life and to encounter ordinary daily life with grace and virtue. As we celebrate this feast, it is an invitation for us in the here now to examine ourselves as to how much we contribute to building or destroying our religious family; and how we sort and handle our differences and challenges and conflicts that may arise. Some families are strong in virtue, and some struggle with basic communication. Some are faithful day in and day out, some are broken and deeply wounded. No matter the case, know that God wants to enter more deeply into our family life just as it is right now. He desires to give us strength and virtue to live as the Holy Family.
Holy Family Sunday invites us to reflect on the faithfulness that binds families together. In the footsteps of Abraham, Mary, and Joseph, may we navigate the uncertainties of life with unwavering trust, recognizing the sacredness of our own family stories within the grand narrative of salvation.
May the Holy Family be a source of inspiration, guiding us to embrace the call of faith with open hearts, trust in God’s promises, and nurture the sacred bonds within our own families.
Rose Gichangi, RSCJ