Gospel Reflection for the Feast of The Holy Family, Sunday December 31st 2017
In a way every family is a holy family – the family is the place of love, with its flaws in trying to love well, and its times of great joy. If you look around a church on a Sunday there is a difference in the congregation which includes families and the one that does not. Something about the young and old together, and the messiness even of the different generations, cheers us up. Family is the first natural grouping, no matter what its makeup.
The feast today is to highlight the importance of family, and the focus of the church on trying to support and enhance family life. While the holy family was a small and rather holy grouping, it was here that Jesus learned the best things of human life – how to care and to love, to look after a widowed mother and earlier, an elderly father-figure; he learned the give and take of the extended family, and in the family learned his faith and to pray. His family is holy because it was a place of love.
Pope Francis says about the family: ‘every family is always a light, however faint, amid the darkness of this world.’ Even in the darkness that can go with family life in the middle of crime, addiction and conflict, there is a light in the love of people’s hearts.
It’s a feast to encourage us in giving thanks, in sharing love and always in being there for the members of our family.
Remember the family members for whom you are grateful: thank God for them, living and dead.
Holy family, help us grow in love in our own family.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger