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Holy Family 2023

A busy couple came into one of the large toy shops in the city centre just before their son’s birthday. They began hurriedly looking for something. The kindly saleswoman noticed their confusion  and decided to help them:   – Excuse me, how can I  help you?                                       – ‘You see,’ the woman began, ‘tomorrow is our son’s birthday. My husband and I both work hard and are away from home all day. We would like   to buy our son something he can occupy himself with for longer and not feel lonely. The saleswoman looked at the elegantly dressed couple, then said in a calm voice: – Sorry, but we do not sell parents.                                                 We abide in the joy of Christmas. It is certainly   the most family-orientated feast. Jesus, though  born in a poor stable, had loving parents.                                                                                 While it is possible to have great wealth, there is something that even all the money in the world cannot buy. That is a loving family. Today is Holy Family Sunday.  The Church’s liturgy gives us the most perfect family as an example: Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Their attitude is a signpost of where the family should go. From the Gospels, we learn that the Holy Family went to the Jerusalem temple. There,  the pious wise man Simeon and the prophetess Anna, having seen Jesus, blessed God for His great works. And all this happens in the temple – the place where faith is fulfilled. The Holy Family shows us             the important truth that without faith, a family can never be truly happy, and without God, the lasting foundation of family love cannot be built.   The Holy Family asks us today what are our values on which we build our lives.   We see how parents take care of their children   so that they don’t lack anything, so that they get    a good education, so that they have a good job later on…. And rightly so. But is there still a place for  the Lord God in all this? One of the founders of     the United States Patrick Henry said after making      his will  “I bequeath everything I own to my family. There is still another precious thing I wanted to pass on to them. This value is faith in Christ. If my family had faith and did not receive even one cent from me, they would still be rich.

 And if I gave them all the riches and did not give them the faith, they would be the poorest in the world”.    The life of the Holy Family, was not an easy one.    It did not lack daily hardship, suffering, fears, worries and even several years of wandering in  a foreign land. God has not removed the stones and thorns from their road.                                                                           But he gave them the wisdom and strength necessary to walk this bumpy road, more: to grow on it every day, to develop, to mature                                                                                                  On this day today, one thing seems important:  not to lose sight of the model that is the Holy Family. As long as one has an ideal before one’s eyes – even if one does not grow up to it – one nevertheless gets closer to it step by step. But when the ideal disappears from before their eyes, they no longer move forward, but retreat. Perhaps that is why  the Church draws that image this one time a year, an ideal that we need so much, especially today,  at a time of crisis for the Family: the life of the Holy Family, is a life that all our Families are called and invited to emulate.