It is the day after Christmas and today is boxing day where people open their presents that they received over Christmas from their loved ones.However, how many of us open our presents with our families? Or treasure the moment of joy of tearing off the Christmas wrappers together. Families today lack such special moments of being together,laughing together and most importantly, spending time together. Tomorrow I will be spending time with my loved ones and animals all in one place which is something that I treasure and enjoy.
Today marks the feast of the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and for us to remember that though no family is perfect, we all struggle, yet we are able to work together to overcome the trials and tribulations that come our way.
The gospel shows how anxious and worried both Mary and Joseph were for Jesus who had stayed behind after the feast of the Passover without informing his parents.
“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers,listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished and his mother said to him,”Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”(Luke 2:41-52).
If the above scenario occurred in today’s modern times, a child would be given a harsh scolding or beating if they went away without telling their parents. Yes, the family of Jesus was not perfect as Mary, ever virgin, gave birth to Jesus, and her spouse Joseph could have divorced Mary but he did not and was faithful to the call of God. Jesus was born in a manger with the farm animals making it a less than ideal place for a child to be born. King Herod also wanted to get rid of Jesus. Jesus would have to die to save us from our sins. All these struggles would have broken a family, but for Jesus,Mary and Joseph, they stuck by and relied on each other as a family.
Mary and Joseph had mutual understanding and love for each other and they could bring up Jesus to the best of their ability. Their faith did not waver as they continued to trust more in the word of God. They did not give up and played the blame game when things did not go their way,but they persevered and journeyed with Jesus through His birth, death and resurrection.
Jesus respected his parents and obeyed both Mary and Joseph and also submitted himself to the will of God. I too, obey my parents and submit to their requests as they know what is best for me and respect my decisions. I pray that families who are struggling would look to the Holy Family and reconcile their differences in opening the channels of communication again.
Also, certain ground rules such as not using mobile devices during meal times should be in place so that there is communication going on between family members. Communication is an important aspect in relationship building in families. Though no family is perfect, a struggling family tries and with the grace of prayer, a family that is strongest together can overcome anything and everything if they remain united and connected with each other.
As we remind ourselves that the family is more important than anything else, let us pray to the Holy Family that they may guide us when things are not ideal in our families and that we be grateful for each of our family members:
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,to you we turn with trust.
Holy Family of Nazareth,grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.”
God Bless! and may we look to Jesus,Mary and Joseph for guidance and examples in finding peace and joy within our families everyday of our lives. Happy Holidays!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong