December 31, 2017 — The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
The primary purpose of The Feast of the Holy Family is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.
In Italy there is a saying, “La famiglia é tutto,” which means, “the family is everything.” Our Holy Father Pope Francis has made families one of the focal points of his papacy. He organized a conference on families in 2015. Speaking to the gathered families, he said, “You cannot have a family without dreams. I am very fond of dreams in families. For nine months, every mother and father dream about their baby. They dream about what kind of child he or she will be… You can’t have a family without dreams. Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies. So I ask you each evening, when you make your examination of conscience, to also ask yourselves this question: Today did I dream about my children’s future? Today did I dream about the love of my husband, my wife? Did I dream about my parents and grandparents who have gone before me?”
All of today’s readings have to do with families and family life. The reading from Sirach, our First Reading, emphasized the Fourth Commandment, “Honor thy father and mother.” We are commanded to respect and love our parents. However, it is a two way street. The Gospel Reading speaks of the development of Jesus, and that should inspire parents to understand that our prayers are the same as the prayers of Joseph and Mary — that our children will become strong in spirit and filled with wisdom.