Family means a great deal to me. Spending time with my mom, my brothers and sister and their families, especially around the holidays, is a special gift to me.
I realize that no family is perfect. We all have to deal with particular family issues and circumstances, varying problems and challenges, diverse personalities, etc. Yet, all of this is accompanied by multiple blessings.
Sometimes I think that certain people tend to idealize the Holy Family and forget the many difficulties and hardships that Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to endure. We read in the Sacred Scriptures that Mary was found with child before living with Joseph. He was initially going to divorce her quietly. (Mt. 1: 18-19) Then, there was no place for Jesus to be born in the lodgings of Bethlehem after Joseph and Mary (now in the final stage of her pregnancy) had travelled considerable distance. (Lk. 2: 4-7) As an infant, Jesus’ life was threatened by King Herod and His parents had to flee with Him to Egypt. (Mt. 2: 13-18) Joseph and Mary seemingly lost—could not immediately find—the boy Jesus during their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. (Lk. 2: 41-51) Mary later witnessed her only Son tortured and killed in front of her eyes. (Jn. 19: 25)
These were not quite the circumstances of a perfect, ideal life, were they?
Yet, through it all, Jesus, Mary and Joseph had each other and were bound together by mutual love and respect. They all greatly loved and trusted God, our Heavenly Father, and were obedient to His will as it was revealed and unfolded for them.
Today, problems within the family unit continue to exist—at a somewhat grand scale and pace. Various people question, with some even wanting to redefine, the traditional understanding of “family.” Family life as we once knew it in society seems to be eroding.
I contend that we need to look at the Sacred Scriptures to see what they teach us (albeit ever so briefly) about the family life experienced by the Holy Family. Their obvious trust in God in difficult circumstances, their obedience to His will, and their fidelity to God and to one another are great examples for us all to follow.
Pray to the Holy Family.
Pray that our families be blessed and protected from the many threats that try to destroy them.
Pray fervently for the grace to know and to do God’s will.
And certainly pray that our families will one day join the Heavenly Family that awaits us—united with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Fr. Ed Namiotka