Feast of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 Colossians 3:12-21 Luke 2:41-52
Next week’s Scripture describes three human families and their efforts to do God’s will. These efforts make them grow in holiness. The first family we encounter is Hannah, Elkanah, and Samuel. Hannah does something that only a woman who has given up her baby for adoption might fully understand. She leaves her long-awaited child to be raised by a priest in the service of the Lord’s temple. Somehow Hannah recognizes that this is God’s will for her and for Samuel. Both are “dedicated to the Lord.”
Next we hear about the Christian family, “the children of God.” The first letter of John encourages us to “do what pleases God.” By focusing on doing God’s will we will help one another to become more holy, more like the children of God that we truly are. Finally, we listen to a story about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. It involves a typical dynamic in family life, with the adolescent son seeking independence and the parents responding with “anxiety” and hurt. As in our own families, it seems that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus didn’t always agree on what it meant to do God’s will.
Like Mary and Joseph, who “did not understand” why Jesus remained in the Temple, we will not always understand what God has in mind for us in the struggles of family life. It may be difficult to know how to “do what pleases [God].” The reading from the First Letter of John gives us some guidance. If we put our faith in Christ and “love one another” we will grow together in holiness. With faith in Jesus, we will “advance in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”
God’s will is that we all love one another and grow together into a holy human family.