Holy Family December 26, 2010

December 26, 2010

Can anyone tell me the Holy Families last name?  Some say it is the Christ, others insist it is the Nazorean.  Before Christmas several years ago I was out shopping for a manger.  I observed a little girl about five years old carefully checking out the baby Jesus in the crib of a manger.  I was taken back when I herd her refer to the baby Jesus as Jesus Christmas.

So I asked her why did you call baby Jesus, Jesus Christmas.  Because, she replied, Jesus last name is Christmas.  Well I had to ask!  “How do you know Christmas is Jesus last name?”  It has to be, she said, because his mothers name is Merry Christmas”.  We wish you a Merry Christmas.

Family – Communion of Persons:

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.  The Catechism teaches the Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The family is about the procreation and education of children reflects the Father’s work of creation.  The family is the original cell of social life and represents the smallest church.  It is the family that serves as the first teacher of the fundamentals of honor, relationships, freedom, security, fraternity and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother.

And are you listening young people and teenagers?  As long as a child lives at home, the child should obey the parents in what they ask.

And parents least you forget your mission is to teach your children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.

Listen to the beauty in the first reading from Sirach.  God sets a father in honor over his children.  Whoever honors their father atones for sins.  In time of tribulation it will be recalled to your advantage, like warmth upon frost it will melt away your sins.

A mother’s authority he confirms over her sons and daughters.  When one prays, one is heard; one stores up riches who reveres their mother.

Getting ones sins forgiven can be simple.  Honor your father and mother while they live.

I miss my father and mother.  I wish today I could sit down with them to listen and learn from their experiences of the great depression and World War II to help me and my family negotiate the troubling waters of 2011.

The last year before I was ordained, I was assigned the second reading for the Feast of the Holy family.  Paul to the Colossians, women know the line well.  Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.

I practiced and practiced this reading.  You see I wanted to communicate the message of the author Paul, rather than communicate what the words might evoke from the women of our community in the 1990’s.  I failed.  When I returned to my seat, my wife glared at me and said that was the worst proclamation she had ever heard and don’t ever read like that again.

We must be reminded form time to time.  The scripture writers are interested only in communicating a spiritual message that revel the truth or an insight about our God.  We, as American’s pride ourselves on our independence and individuality and can create stumbling blocks for ourselves.  It is the pride of independence and individuality that can lead us into deep trouble and cause us to lose sight of the higher calling to the unity of the family, church and community that are under severe attack by those who want to divide us by driving Christ out of Christmas.  Let’s net let the world confuse us!

Listen carefully to Matthew!  Matthew was pouring out his soul in the words of today’s gospel.  Through the story of the Holy Families flight into the Egypt, Matthew was calling, imploring and shouting to his family, his Jewish brothers and sisters; see and hear the fulfillment of the old testament scripture in the Torah, the prophets Isaiah, Hosea and Judges all pointing to the promised Messiah Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ comes from the mouth of our very own prophets and scripture.

A number of years ago during the Christmas season, the first grade teacher at our parish asked the children to draw a picture of the Holy Families flight into Egypt.  One young lady drew a picture of an airplane with three people inside, all wearing halos and a fourth person in front without a halo.

“I understand that the three people in the plane with halos are the Holy Family,” said the teacher, “but who is the fourth person in front?”  The little girl replied, “Oh, that’s  Pontius, the pilot.”

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