Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
When we think of “family” in a broad and general sense, all of family life’s positive and nurturing qualities may come to mind. However, when we think of “family” in a specific sense, many of the complexities of family dynamics might come to mind. Our readings give us just a glimpse of everyday family life’s misunderstandings, anxieties, and challenges. These were part of the Holy Family’s experience, just as they are part of our own experience. The experiential truth is that family life can both be a challenge and a joy. It’s not an “either/or” situation. So how do we navigate the “both/and”?
The Lectionary offers a few options for the second reading today. The reading from 1 John chapter 3 is an excellent choice in this context. It reminds us that we “are all children of God,” and while there is much we don’t know, God will help us understand in God’s time. The reading gives us perspective and hope. Perhaps this is why it is often used at funerals where people need both perspective and hope. I’ve attended numerous funerals and heard many eulogies. Through the tears and trembling voices, family members have shared how their now-deceased loved one shaped their lives for the better. They don’t turn a blind eye to their loved one’s faults and foibles, but these things tend to fall by the wayside as the most cherished qualities now come forward.
This might be the perspective we need. Everything is for a time, and all things pass. Yet, we can still find the good in the here and now. In keeping this larger perspective and looking for the good in the present, you can turn challenging or tense holiday family meals into eucharistic encounters or even make the kind of memories you might recall in a eulogy. It’s possible because “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Let Us Pray:
Loving God, you send your Holy Spirit to help us see the good, even when it is difficult to see. Help us to act on this good and bring joy and peace into our world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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