Homily: Feast of the Holy Family


Pax et Bonum!

I suppose, that especially at this time of year, there are many different reasons for a family road trip.  Schools are closed.  Many people have time off work or are taking vacation days before the New Year starts.  The holidays provide a great incentive for visiting family and friends.  There are even weddings, and funerals, and family reunions, this time of year and all year long.  There’s just something about piling the whole family into the car, or mini-van, or SUV and heading out, even if it is just to go shopping, or out to dinner, or to a movie or a museum.  “Who wants to go?” was always one of my favorite sentences.  I was usually one of the first ones up and with my coat on.  It’s a lot of fun to go places with family and friends.

I guess, because we all know what this is like, and because some times we all like to go places, our Gospel story today has to make all of us wonder about what it was like when St. Joseph awoke from his dream, and they left for Egypt.  I mean, how did Joseph present this idea to Mary.  Certainly, he didn’t want to scare her.  So maybe they were sitting around the dinner table with their newborn Son, and oh so casually, over dinner, St. Joseph says, wouldn’t it be a great time to see Egypt.  Maybe Mary was very surprised.  Maybe Mary was worried about diapers and car seats.  Maybe Mary, with a new baby, wasn’t so keen on a family road trip, so soon after having a baby.  But when this family road trip was so clearly designed by God, and it was for the protection of their baby, I’m sure that Mary didn’t have any trouble packing up their donkey and heading out again, this time to travel to Egypt for several months, maybe even a year and a half to two years!  It was not a short or easy trip.  It would have taken several days to get to Egypt from Bethlehem.  But both Mary and Joseph trusted in God and knew that God would guide them to exactly where they needed to be, to protect the Baby Jesus.

That trust and reliance on God is so absolutely essential to our understanding the Holy Family, that we celebrate today.  God was the center of the lives of this family.  Both Joseph and Mary were people of great Faith, and from the very first days, they were raising their Son, Jesus, to also grow up in and with that kind of Faith.  My brothers and sisters, this Faith and trust is exactly what made the Holy Family HOLY!  Theirs wasn’t a superficial holiness.  They weren’t just going through the motions of Faith or religion.  Mary and Joseph really trusted that God was going to take care of them.  When a child was born to them that neither one of them understood, when they had the Baby on the road, while they were traveling to Bethlehem, when there was no room for them at any of the inns, or nice, safe, clean places to stay, Mary and Joseph trusted in God and relied on Him to get them out of some impossible situations.  Did I ever tell you that I once had the opportunity to go to Bethlehem when I visited the Holy Land.  We stayed there for two days.  I was terrified when we got there, because I was just sure that they were going to have lost our reservations and we wouldn’t have a place to stay there either.  I’m very happy to report that they have built many hotels in Bethlehem since the time of Jesus’ birth.  We worry about too much.

And maybe, that’s exactly what keeps our families from being holy.  We do worry about too much.  We worry about money.  We worry about what people will think.  We worry about our jobs.  We worry about homes. We worry about all our things.  You know, before we had so many things, we didn’t have to worry about them.  But now that we have so much, we have to worry about everything!  And worry, my brothers and sisters, is the exact opposite of trust and Faith.  Is worrying killing our families?  Is worrying stopping our families from being holy?  Even in the Sacrament of Marriage, worry can do a lot of damage.  We are called, just like Mary and Joseph, to put our Faith and trust in God, all of us, at all times!  What would it take for us to live more that way in our families?  What would it take for us to rely completely on God?

Today, let us work at making all of our families holy.  Whatever your family looks like today, God can use your family for His glory also.  Let’s put our Faith and trust in Him, just as Mary and Joseph did.

+ May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                           AMEN !!!

+ St. Maria Goretti…                     Pray for us !!!