Skip to comments.The Holy Family - held together by Love through all their problems [Ecumenical]
Posted on 12/29/2011 9:09:01 PM PST by Salvation
by Fr. Tommy Lane
The Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary and Joseph are put before us by the Church this weekend as a model for our families. We call them The Holy Family but that does not mean that they did not have problems. Just as every family has to face problems and overcome them, or to put it another way, has to carry a cross, so also The Holy Family had to carry crosses. Their many crosses come to mind as we read the Scriptures.
We can easily imagine how misunderstood both Mary and Joseph must have been when Mary conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Their story would never be believed.
Even Mary herself had it very rough early in the pregnancy when Joseph was planning to divorce her before the angel intervened in a dream.
When the time for Jesus delivery came it took place in an animals shelter since Bethlehem was already so crowded.
Then the family had to flee to Egypt as refugees because Jesus life was in danger due to Herod, in much the same way as refugees from war-torn countries are now entering many western countries.
Mary and Joseph suffered the awful experience of losing Jesus for three days when he was twelve years old and the only satisfaction they got from him was that he had to be about his Fathers business.
We do not hear of Joseph any more so we presume that before Jesus began his public ministry in Galilee Joseph had died - The Holy Family suffering the greatest pain of all families, the pain of bereavement and separation through death.
Jesus public ministry must have taken its toll on Mary. Simeon had predicted in the Temple that a sword of sorrow would pierce Marys soul. We can imagine one such occasion as we read in Mark 3:21 that when Jesus returned to Nazareth one day his relatives came to take him by force convinced that he was out of his mind. Not a very pleasant experience for any family, no matter how holy.
There was also the pain caused by the rhyme made up about Jesus: Behold a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34).
And there was the growing hostility to Jesus by the Jewish authorities that must have caused huge pain to both Mary and Jesus, especially as it became increasingly obvious that Jesus would have to pay for his mission by dying.
The saddest moment of all came when Mary watched her son die on the cross.
What kept The Holy Family together and sane throughout all of these trials and crosses? The answer is Love for each other and God. Jesus love for Mary and Marys love for Jesus, and the love of both of them for God the Father. We can see Jesus love for his mother when he was dying on the cross and was worried about leaving her behind so he asked his close friend and disciple John to look after her, saying to Mary, Woman behold your son, and to John behold your mother (John 19:26-27). What holds our families together also in times of difficulty is love and forgiveness. It is love which triumphs in the end, even if for a while love may have to take the form of some honest talking. When discipline needs to be given, if it is not given in love it is reduced to abuse. If ever our families fail in any way, it is because of a lack of love on someones part. Whenever our families are successful, it is because they are places of love.
I believe that the greatest threat facing families now is simply that we dont spend enough time together. We are so busy working, or socializing, or watching TV that we have less and less time for each other. What a pity. There is a story about a solicitor who lived a considerable distance from her elderly father. Months had passed since they had been together and when her father called to ask when she might visit, the daughter detailed a list of reasons that prevented her from taking the time to see him, e.g., court schedule, meetings, new clients, research, etc., etc. At the end of the recitation, the father asked, When I die, do you intend to come to my funeral? The daughters response was immediate, Dad, I cant believe youd ask that! Of course, Ill come! To which the father replied, Good. Forget the funeral and come; I need you more now than I will then. As I said, I believe one of the greatest threats facing families now is simply that we do not spend enough time together. Spending time together with the family is a way of showing our family that we love them. When we love our family we want to sacrifice ourselves by spending time with them, and all the more so when we realize that by not spending time with them we are depriving them of our love and hurting them.
Just as the holy family survived all its crises through love for each other and faith in God,
**I believe that the greatest threat facing families now is simply that we dont spend enough time together.**
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As JESUS says,
29 Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one, only Lord,
30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.
31 The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’
LOVE is the healer in family, friends, enemies; life.
And he continued, You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, Honor your father and mother,[d] and, Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God) 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and motherwhich is the first commandment with a promise 3 so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.[a]
Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Deuteronomy 5:16 "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Jeremiah 35:7 Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.'
Ephesians 6:3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."
1 Timothy 5:4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
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