Holy Family Sunday always follows right on the heels of Christmas. How appropriate, for a baby is what turns a couple into a family. The arrival of a baby makes a Mary and Joe into Mom and Dad, as it did literally to the couple we celebrate today. The Holy Family started with a young woman who said yes to God’s wondrous plan. Mary was then with child, so to complete his plan, God enfolded a man into it, Joseph, who was Mary’s intended. Just as God chose Mary to mother his Son, so he chose Joseph to represent himself as the child’s father.
When we read of this holy family in the Gospels, we often regret that more isn’t said about their life. We know the difficult beginning: the poverty, the danger, the flight, the hiding, the tenuous return home. We know about their quiet ordinariness, their fervent religious observance. We even see an incident of adolescent testing when Jesus chooses to stay at the Temple in Jerusalem in order to discuss the law with the scholars. He failed to get his parents’ permission and caused them a few anxious days of searching for him. We know also that he explained himself and went home an obedient son. Then silence: we know nothing else until Jesus’ years of ministry. Why would God deny us other insights that would certainly be instructive for families of all times?
It seems the reason for this lack of information is a lesson in itself. Most of those things that we wish we knew about were held close to the heart of the Holy Family – kept safe within its own sanctuary – as family matters should be. Our interactions, both happy and sad, are what make a family of a group of people, even more so than our blood ties. The more normal, ordinary, simple, and expected these happenings are, the more sacred they should be to us. These are the things that make holy families. We may not be exactly like the Holy Family, but we are to be a holy family. So then, lets cherish each ordinary moment of our family life, and mark them with love, acceptance, trust, and respect.