Living the Gospel – December 30, 2018

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How I wish there was more in Scripture about the raising of Jesus as a child! It seems we are told to “live as the Holy Family lived. ” But how? The father became a canonized saint, the mother, conceived immaculately and the son, the Son of God! How can WE emulate THEM!! Can we relate? Perhaps.

Mary was a poor, faithful Jewish girl, pregnant and unmarried. It had to be a frightening spot to be in! Joseph was a poor, hardworking carpenter, headed for scandal—his betrothed was pregnant! Jesus was their very human son, loved by them, taught by them and yet bound to His heavenly Father. Our Gospel today somewhat demonstrates the conflict between the two “worlds” He lived in.

The little family was poor, faithful to their Jewish traditions, who lived in a country ruled by the occupying Roman army who dictated they leave the security of their home to be counted in the census. Mary gave birth to their child in a stable, then they had to leave the security of their hometown for safety because their home wasn’t safe anymore. And then their son was lost for 3 days. How many parents have panicked when their child was out of sight for mere minutes? When they do find him: “I must be about the business of my Father.” Huh?? A wedding feast: “Do whatever he tells you.” “My hour has not yet come.” Mary held on to her faith in him. And finally, Mary watches her only son suffer and die and she could do nothing about it! Oh, the parents who have gone through such!.

When we get past our ideas of the perfect Holy Family with their “perfect life,” we can see the message they bear for so many: teen moms (and maybe, just moms in general,) the poor, the hardworking, the refugee, the parents who have a hard time figuring out their child and the child who wishes their parent would only understand! The Holy Family may be more of a model for us than we first think. When we think of them as so “perfect,” we cannot connect. What they demonstrate are the faithfulness, love, generosity, kindness and despite all their trials, the stability that our own families need so badly today.

Studies tell us that forgiveness is the key. When a group of people with different personalities, varying wants and needs, no matter what their ages, live together there is bound to be some friction at times. Forgiveness may be the key but that comes from listening and respect. No matter the makeup of our families, we must respect one another. Revenge and spite, so prevalent in our society today, is the opposite of what Christ taught and lived.

And the key to such a life is Christ! Without Him at the center true respect and forgiveness is beyond our human capability. Let us turn to the Holy Family and ask for the grace to love one another as Christ loves each of us. Imagine a better world where people loved and respected one another. It begins at home in each of our own “little worlds.”

Linda Caminiti