Dec 31 (Feast of the Holy Family – Lk 2:22-40)

There goes a story about a family, in the US, that was struggling to survive during the Great Economic Depression in the 1940’s…

The father of the family had lost his job, and they moved to the city to find work.

They couldn’t afford to buy their own house, so they lived in the basement of someone else’s house, paying a large rent for the tiny space.

It was not the most comfortable or cosiest situation …

… Mom, Dad, and five Children cramped into a mouldy basement.

But they made the best of it by pouring as much love as they could into little things.

>> They kept the place neat and clean.

>> They had their small and sparse meals together every day.

>> They said their prayers each morning and each evening as a family.

>> They even pitched in to help other families who were in even more difficult situations.

One day, one of the children’s school teachers came by to visit the family.

>> She was shocked at the cramped quarters and the poverty of the family.

The next day at school the teacher took the little girl aside and tried to comfort her.

She said, “I am so sorry that you don’t even have a home to live in!”

But the little girl was surprised and answered:

“Oh no!

We have a wonderful home; we’re just still looking for a house to put it in!!”

The li’l girl did not have a proper house, but she had a wonderful home!

>> The family was constricted into a tiny space, but they had much space for each other in their hearts!

Yes, it’s the little things in life that can make the biggest difference.

Often times, we have a grand house but a very poor home…

We have many big things: a three-car garage, a home movie theatre, football-sized rooms, latest of communication & entertainment gadgets etc…

But very often, something essential is missing…

Is it true?

>> Are we living in a “House” or in a “Home”?

Today Holy Mother Church takes delight in celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

>> This was a home with much joy and peace, though it struggled to have even a proper house.

The Gospel of the Day speaks of the Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2: 22-38) and the return to Nazareth, where the Child grows (Lk 2: 39-40)

The Holy Family of Nazareth is often considered as the perfect and ideal family.

In which sense is it perfect and ideal?

>> Lack of tensions…?

>> Free from problems…?

>> Abundance of wealth…?

>> Absence of worries and fears…?

>> No tension of financial constraints…?

Well…

… if these are the yardsticks to define a perfect and ideal family, the Holy Family of Nazareth would be too far from it…

This “ideal” and “perfect” family of Nazareth had to undergo many severe crises, as in any of our families…

1. The young Mary had to face an unplanned pregnancy…

>> She was thrown between a choice to face stoning for death or placing hope in God.

2. The just man Joseph had the dilemma of accepting a lady who could be doubted by society…

>> He faced the challenge of divorcing his to-be-wife or to accept her in faith and trust.

3. Joseph and Mary failed to find a proper place even to have the birth of their child…

4. At the middle of the night, they had to abandon their only place of refuge and fly to Egypt…

5. At the age of twelve, Jesus gets lost and His words to them are not understood by the parents…

6. A few years into boyhood, Jesus loses Joseph, his caring Father and the young Mary becomes a widow…

Are these “ideal” or “perfect” situations for a family?

Then, how do we say that the Holy Family of Nazareth is an “ideal” and “perfect” family?

Idealness and Perfection comes not as a result of absence of problems and difficulties.

>> Idealness and Perfection is attributed not because of being free from any risks or challenges.

They were able to move beyond a “house” and build a “home” because…

… They had God as their Ultimate Refuge

… and They always sought and listened to what God wanted in Their lives!

Idealness and Perfection is ascribed because They chose to trust and hope in God always!

>> >> Idealness and Perfection is credited because They sought to walk as per the Will of God always!

What about our families?

Today, unlike any other time in the history of the world, a family or a community faces severe challenges…

>> Consumerism and materialism ruins the fabric of a family…

>> Individualism and self-priorities hampers the structure of a family…

>> Failure to understand and readiness to abandon each other becomes quick solutions…

>> Media and other “knowledge sources” bombard minds with many alternative lifestyles…

As a family and a community, we today, stand before the Crib and gaze on the “Ideal” and “Perfect” family of Nazareth…

>> They had Their own issues and problems…

>> They had Their own sets of difficulties.

We might argue, that their problems are nothing compared to what we are going through.

Yet, the method and style of handling and tackling the problems remains the same…

>> Seeking to do God’s Will…

>> Being steadfastly faithful to one another in every crisis…

>> Being the strength to each other in rough times…

The Holy Family…

… challenges us to place unity and love as the prominent concerns.

… exhorts us to trust God in all situations and have God as the highest priority

… invites us to understand and accept each other and love the other as they are

We need to mould and build our families lovingly, inspired by the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Let us move from being just “house-makers” to being “home-makers”…

>> Let us go beyond the fleeting concept of “houses” to build everlasting and loving “homes”…

Are we living in a House or in a Home?

Happy Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth to all our Families!

God bless! Live Jesus!

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