Saturday, December 28, 2013

12-29-2013 -- Feast of the Holy Family

December 29, 2013 - Feast of the Holy Family
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Everybody loved Jack.  He was big for a first grader.  He was the gentlest of soul.  He didn’t have a mean bone in his body and was a friend to all.

When the school staged its Christmas play, Jack wanted to be one of the shepherds.  But the teacher directing the play had a larger role in mind for Jack.

He was cast as the innkeeper.  He was the right size for the job.  He practiced and practiced but became more and more nervous about his lines.

The night of the play finally arrived and everything was going splendidly.  Then came the part where Mary and Joseph knocked on the door of the inn.

Jack answered the door right on cue and gave his first line, “What do you want?”

“We seek lodging,” came the response. 
“Seek it elsewhere, the inn is full,” Jack replied with just the right touch of annoyance.

“But sir, we have tried everywhere already.  We have come a long way and we are tired.”

“Go away.  There’s no room in my inn for you.”
“But sir, my wife is with child.  Don’t you have a corner where we can get out of the cold?”

Then it happened.  Jack broke his icy stare and looked at Mary.  There was a long silence.

The audience became nervous and uneasy.  Everyone thought Jack had forgotten the next line. 

“No, be gone,” whispered the prompter.
“No, be gone,” Jack whispered halfheartedly.

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary as they began to move off stage.  Jack couldn’t stand it any longer.

Big as he was, cruel he could never be.  With tears in his eyes he called out, “Wait Joseph, don’t go!  Bring Mary back.  You can have my room.”

A few people thought Jack had ruined the Christmas play.  But most people knew better.  What an insight from such an innocent child.

The Holy Family needed Jack to give them a place to stay.  They needed each other too.

They certainly were not a normal family.  I don’t think there is such a thing.  Today there are single parent families, foster families, blended families and non-traditional families.

Who are we to judge?  After all Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus.  He had to give up his life plans, and put his resources at the service of two people who he called his family.

The Holy Family was a very human family.  Jesus lived in a family with troubles and fears.  We forget, the three of them suffered many trials together.

Here are just a few:  Without Jack, there was no room at the inn.  Mary had to give birth in a stable. 

Then shortly after Jesus’ birth, the family had to flee to Egypt because the evil King Herod wanted to kill the child. 

They set out on a treacherous journey, vulnerable and poor.
They were refugees.  Yet, God was with them. 

We cannot say that the Holy Family doesn’t understand what we go through.  They have been through much more and can sympathize with us.

They are a model for us.  They show us that God is with us in all our trials of daily living.  They faced challenges and pressures, but remained obedient to God’s will.

It was from Mary and Joseph that Jesus learned his first lessons of how to love.

It is in our families that we first learn how to love.
It is in our families that we first learn about Jesus.

It is in our families that we first learn that we belong, that we have a place, that we need each other.

The feast of the Holy Family reminds us that we cannot buy God’s love, we cannot earn God’s love, we cannot bargain for God’s love.  It is freely given.  And it is shown to us by the Holy Family.

We are given God’s unconditional love.  We belong to God’s Holy Family.  And the child Jesus is our brother.

As members of God’s Holy Family we should pay more attention to the way we treat each other. 

St. Paul says we should treat each other with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.

We should learn to be more like Jack. 

“Wait Joseph, don’t go!  You can have my room.”

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful reflection on family, what it means to be family, and how we are to treat family members ... including our siblings in Christ. Would that we could all be more like Jack and be willing to offer our own space to those in need.