The Feast of the Holy Family
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
December 26, 2010
December 26, 2010
At the heart of a beautiful family: great human minds, like Aristotle, realized that the family is what makes a society free; great Christian minds, like John Paul II, knew that the family is the way to Jesus!
One of the major tragedies of our would today is the disintegration of the family. The holy union between one man and one woman established by God has come under attack from the secular world. Marriage was once held in high esteem as a holy institution, but laxity of morals has slowly eroded this former holy institution of marriage. In the past divorce was concealed, kept hidden as a shameful act, while today some consider it a badge of honor.
I was thinking the other day: if each husband treated his wife as if she was Mary and each wife respected her husband as Joseph, modeled by the Holy Family what a wonderful life would be Marriage!
Extra-marital affairs were likewise hidden and much as possible, while today it becomes a bragging point. Watching TV these days and one comes away thinking that if I'm not evolved - I'm not normal.
This really poses a very important question, who do you want to decide if you are normal? If you/I have our hearts and minds focused on Heaven, wouldn't we want to have God to decide weather we are normal or not? By the way, normal is not sameness, but is whether I am right with God. For normalcy is the knowledge of our relationship with the God that made us and the knowledge of our return to Him.
The Church founded by Christ must then teach and proclaim that contraception has led to disregard of its basic teaching - and sex becomes a personal pleasure devoid of love or purpose. It seems in our day the role of true parenting is ridiculed and by some considered as practiced by foolish know-nothings.
The time has come for Catholic families once again to look to the Holy Family for guidance and inspiration. Each year the Church gives us this beautiful feast dedicated to the Holy Family to help us. In the opening prayer for the Sacred Liturgy today, we pray for peace in our families, united in respect and love.
The Reading from the book of Sirach enumerates the blessings those receive who honor their father and mother.
St. Paul reminds us that we are a chosen race, saints of God, and that we must clothe ourselves with virtue in order to bring unity to the family as intended by God.
The Gospel relates another dream of St. Joseph, in which he is alerted of danger, in obedience and silence he leads his family into safety, first into a foreign land, and then back to Nazareth in order to fulfill the words of the prophets. "He will be called a Nazarene."
On January 5, 1964, Pope Paul VI gave a powerful reflection in Nazareth on the Holy Family that continues to teach and give us practical advice today.
"Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ's life was like and even to understand His Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the sample appeal of the way God's Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate Him."Today, many families home-school, so I would direct those families to model their curricula on the Holy Family in order to, as Pope Paul says, "discover what Christ's life was like and understand His Gospel."
We learn from the Holy Family the value of silence and to appreciate its ability to overcome the cacophony of protests and conflicting claims so characteristic in our turbulent times.
Pope Paul continues by reminding us that it is in the model of the Holy Family that we can see a model of and character of our families. Becoming the perfect setting for the rearing of children. Do I dare say there is no substitute!
Lastly the Pope reflects on the value of work, again as it relates to the Holy Family.
"In Nazareth, the home of the craftsman's son, we learn about Work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its - demanding yet redeeming - and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derives not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves."The Pope goes on to say that is unfortunate that so many look down on manual labor for it give one a sense of pride and accomplishment and, without work, we'll become listless. Looking to the Holy Family, we see each family member diligently contributing to a variety of task as appropriate to their position in the Domestic church, the Family. We may achieve this by observing proper order in our family life, which includes discipline, obedience, silence and recognition of the need for work with its sanctifying merit.
The family can bind this all together in their common life, which entails prayer, meals, recreation and work done as members of a family.
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.
- "Home Schooling and This Catholic Family"
(February 26, 2011)
- "Joseph's Bones, a Promise, and Passing the Word"
(December 20, 2010)
- "Kids Don't Learn Faith: They Catch It"
(September 15, 2010)
- "Sex, the Practicing Catholic, and Vatican Roulette"
(June 5, 2010)
- "The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph"
(December 27, 2009)