+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Everybody has a family. We all come from somewhere. We are all raised by some group of people. It might not be our biological family, but all of us have people who have raised us, and taught us, and got us safely through childhood, until we were an adult. Most of us are very grateful for our families, and all that they have done for us. But there’s also plenty of people who were let down by their families, and who, nevertheless, survived until they reached adulthood. We know that there’s no such thing as a perfect family. It’s true. And yet, all of us keep trying to love one another, to take care of one another, and to live together in peace and harmony. I love this time of year, because this is the time of year that we receive the annual Christmas letter in so many Christmas cards. And I love Christmas letters. Sometimes, some people call them “brag” letters. Those people are just jealous! But the thing with Christmas letters is that whoever is writing them, is going to tell you all the “good” about their family, they’re not going to tell you the bad. How many times have your read a Christmas letter, that told you how many arrests, their children had? How many times have you read a Christmas letter that told you, not just about who got married in the family this past year, but also who got divorced? How many Christmas letters have you read, that mention things like bankruptcy, or drug addiction, or who’s in prison? Oh no, we don’t put those things in Christmas letters. We want people to see our best!
And this is what makes it tougher to be a family. We think that we have to be just like “everybody” else. We want our family Christmas picture to look like we are that happy family in the toothpaste ad. And when our families aren’t perfect, we feel like our families aren’t right. We get jealous. We give up on people. We quit trying, and working, at being a family. We must know, that what we see on the outside, can be very different from the way that things really are, on the inside. Anybody can write the perfect Christmas letter and make you think that their family is perfect. Any family can live in a perfect, beautiful house, or drive, perfect, beautiful cars, or wear, perfect, beautiful clothes. Any family can take a perfect picture, or all have perfect smiles, or post pictures of them on the perfect family vacation, or have lots of money and not have to deal with financial woes, but I promise you, not one of those things makes for a perfect family! Sometimes, we get so busy looking at other families that have the things that we don’t, that we think that that’s what makes them, perfect! Or that that’s what makes them better than us.
Today, we come together as people of faith, as Church, to celebrate the Holy Family. Not the perfect family, THE HOLY FAMILY. There’s a difference. The Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were not perfect. They had their problems, They had issues. They faced great challenges. But Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, had great Faith, great trust in God. In good times, and in bad times, they believed and relied on, that God was going to take care of them.
They were HOLY. They let their faith, their religion, guide and direct their lives, their relationships with one another, and pretty much everything that they did. That’s what made Jesus, Mary, and Joseph HOLY. Not the way that they looked, not what kind of clothes they wore, not how big their TV was. Their faith, their love, and their spirit of unselfishness, made them care about each other in a deep and profound way, that united them with God, and united them together with each other. That’s what we need for our families. We don’t need to look better, we need to BE better. We need to be holier. We need to love and care more. We need to be more unselfish. Those are the things we should want most for our families, not just a new car, or a bigger house, or a more extravagant vacation. Holiness is amazing! Holiness puts us in line with God. Holiness keeps us together with God and with one another. Holiness lasts a lot longer than a bigger TV.
Can you imagine the Christmas letter, the “brag” letter, that the Holy Family could have written? This year, Joseph has done some amazing things with wood in his carpentry shop. His end tables are heavenly. And Mary has taken up basket weaving this year. She is making the baskets to be used for the Multiplication of the fishes and the loaves. And Jesus is learning Hebrew in school this year. He’s a natural at it, like He’s known it forever! Now that would be a Christmas letter!
Let’s worry less about our families NOT being perfect, and let’s start making all of our families holier. Holiness will be much more important down the road. And may Jesus, Mary, and Joseph be our examples and our role models, for living together in peace!
+ May God bless us on this Feast Day! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us!!!