Octave of Christmas (30th December, 2018)
First Reading: 1 Sam 1:20-22, 24-28 (Sir 3:2-6, 12-14) (Hannah gives birth to Samuel)
Second Reading: 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24 (Col 3:12-21) (Hannah gives birth to Samuel)
Gospel: Lk 2:41-52 (Your father and I were worried)
Today on the feast of Holy family, we have the opportunity for us to know how a Christian family is to be. Today the Gospel speaks of the pilgrimage of Joseph, Mary and Jesus to the temple. Pilgrimage has always been a main part of ritual celebration in one’s life and to the family of St. Joseph too fulfils it. What is significant here is that the family takes up journey to the temple together. Togetherness is the key aspect to be noted here. There is a joy of being together and going together. Where family prays together, it stays together. As someone has said, “Prayer is the life-breath and heartbeat of a truly Christian home. It’s also one of the best ways to help your family thrive. When you pray together, each member of the family learns what it means to be intimate with God. When you see answers to prayer, you experience His love and His presence in your daily lives”. Yes. Praying together as a family can be altogether a different experience. We have the instances of praying together, going to the temple together in many places. It is as if we fulfil the wish of the Psalmist who says, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let’s go to the temple of the Lord’” (Ps 122:1).
In our life we may have innumerable experiences of families where they pray together and those which do not sit together for prayer. Where families pray together there is better understanding more trust among the members and deeper love for one another. The life of Joseph and Mary amply explains this. On the other hand, where the families did not pray together, there is more problems in the parents and children. Such his great ill impact on everyone in the family and this on others too.
Pope Francis in his discourse to the families says, “The Church is the family of God’s children. A family in which we rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and weep with those who grieve or feel knocked down by life. A family in which we care for everyone, for God our Father has made all of us his children in Baptism”. He also adds saying, “As families, you are the hope of the Church and of the world! God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created mankind in his image to share in his love, to be a family of families, and to enjoy the peace that he alone can give. By your witness to the Gospel, you can help God’s dream to come true. You can help to draw all God’s children closer together, so that they can grow in unity and learn what it is for the entire world to live in peace as one great family”.
The second part of today’s reading is that the pilgrimage of Holy family does not end with mere visit to the temple or offerings made at Temple. Rather it increases both the love and joy among one another. The couple misses their child for three days. It did not throw them into disappointment or disbelief. When they find him in the temple with teachers, they are overwhelmed and return to their house with joy, happiness and thanksgiving. This is the Christian life. Jesus had warned, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Mt 7:13). Yes, the way to lead a good Christian life is narrow and dangerous but this is what we are asked to take up as followers of Christ. Like the Holy family, we need to take up journey towards God with grateful hearts on every day of our life and this has to be done with true joy and happiness surrendering ourselves to the loving mercy of God and seek His grace on every moment of our life. Amen.