Holy Family


+  Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

A couple of years ago, I made a pilgrimage to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio, with some friends of mine.  On the way there, one of these friends was googling what else there was to see and do in Cleveland, and what we found out was that the house that they used to film the movie, “A Christmas Story” is actually in Cleveland, and not northern Indiana, where the movie is set.   And that in fact, that house, and several around it, is now the official “A Christmas Story the Movie Museum”.  How in the world could anybody go to Cleveland, and NOT go to the “Official A Christmas Story the Movie Museum”?  So we did.

Now, this Museum is not in the nicest of neighborhoods, so if you go, be careful.  But we took the tour, we saw the Leg Lamp, we saw the “Fra-gil- e” box, we even got to meet the actor that played “Randy”, the younger brother in the movie.  And after everything, they take you to the gift shop.  So I walk into the gift shop, and all over the wall, on the opposite side of the room, are these white, ceramic casts, of what I thought were the Holy Family.  And I was surprised, because religion, Faith, the Holy Family, Jesus, not even the Three Wise Men, are mentioned in the movie, “A Christmas Story”.  Not at all.  The movie is completely a pagan Christmas story.  There’s no Christ in their Christmas.  So I walked over to the wall with all these “Holy Family” statues, and as I got close enough, I realized that the statues weren’t of the Holy Family.   The statues were of the “A Christmas Story” family, the Parker family, Mother Parker, who’s first name is never mentioned in the movie.   The Old Man Parker, who again never has his first name mentioned.  Ralphie, and Randy.  It wasn’t Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  It was the family from “A Christmas Story”!  So now you can even buy statues of  the unholy family of the movie, “A Christmas Story.”   The pagan take over of Christmas is complete.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do like that movie.  I laugh every time I see it.  And of course, yesterday TBS treated all of us to the 36 hour marathon of the movie.  But the Parker family in the movie really are about as far away from the Holy Family as you can get.  The real story of Christmas, centered on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, makes for so much better of a story.  It is not as funny, but the amazing life that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph shared together in that little home in Nazareth, sure makes getting a BB gun for Christmas a pretty shallow story.

Today, the Church holds up for all of us, the Holy Family of Nazareth, as our role models for our families AND for our Church.  The love, the Faith, the selflessness, the obedience, the sacrifice, all of these heroic virtues can be found in the Holy Family.   Today we get a glimpse into the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, with the story of the finding in the Temple.  Jesus is older.  He’s twelve years old.  So were fast-forwarding ahead in the story.  And as the family is leaving Jerusalem, after three days of looking and frantically searching, Mary and Joseph have to go back to Jerusalem, to find their pre-teen son.  After three days of worrying, three days of wondering if they had lost the Son that God had entrusted to them, they find pre-teen Jesus in the Temple.  And while this must have been somewhat of a relief, they didn’t find him in a bar, or in a pool hall, or a crack house,  my guess is that Mary and Joseph were pretty upset by the whole thing.  Mary is all nice about it, with “Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”  I think that that was sinless Virgin Mary code for “I am so upset with you right now that I could spit!”  And notice the Gospel doesn’t record what St. Joseph says.  Remember, St. Joseph was the only one in the house who wasn’t without sin.  My guess is that St. Luke couldn’t even record the words that St. Joseph spoke on finding the child Jesus.  Whatever transpired, it must have worked, because the three of them return to Nazareth, and the Gospel says that Jesus was obedient to them from that time on.

We come together today on this Feast Day, and we ask God to bless all of our families!  In many ways, our families may look more like the Parker family in the movie “A Christmas Story”, than we resemble the Holy Family.  But as people of Faith, we want to have the kind of Faith, and trust, and goodness, and love, that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph shared together.  Family does work so much better when God and Faith are involved.  Even in times of crisis, maybe most especially in times of crisis, God can keep us together in our love and Faith.

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Today, the family needs all the help that it can get.   In the family, we learn to love, and to trust, and to give and sacrifice, and to how to share.  There aren’t too many institutions still teaching those values today!

For us to become good people, for us to learn how to get along with others, for us to learn how to be unselfish, for us to be able to be Church, we need strong families!   We need holy families!

How can you make your family more like the Holy Family?  You know, so many times, in families, members are waiting for somebody else to make things better.  We think, that if only Dad would say this, if only Mom would do this, if only the oldest would behave this way, if only the youngest would only pay attention, then everything would be better.  We all have to do our part to make our families stronger, and holier, and more like the Holy Family.

On this Feast Day, let’s do our best to treasure our families, all of them, even our Parish family.  Working together  and with Faith, we can do anything!   We can even avoid shooting our eye with a BB gun!

+  May God bless us this Feast of the Holy Family,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…     AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…       Pray for us !!!