Caring for “Family”

Family—this single word can evoke a whole variety of feelings in people, some delightfully good, some less than desirable.  Every year after Christmas we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.  What do we know about their family?  We know surprisingly little, yet there are certain things that we know they experienced that are much the same as families today. 

Both parents, Mary and Joseph, were not only religious they were willing to put their reputations and lives on the line for their relationship with God.  We know that their early marriage relationship was tumultuous due to an “unplanned” pregnancy.  We know that they were forced to relocate during difficult times and had to struggle to find adequate shelter for themselves.  We know they were exiles due to persecution at home by the political establishment.   We know that Mary and Jesus experienced the loss of Joseph, husband and father.  We know that Mary experienced the death of her son, executed by the criminal justice system for sedition.  We know that Mary had no other children to help her in her old age, and was taken care of by a disciple of her son, John.

While not all families experience the same events, such events are still all too common for families in today’s world.  As we remember the Holy Family today perhaps we need to recognize that there are families around the world and even in our own county and town that are experiencing difficulties.  Let us support husbands and wives having difficulties.  Let us support those who find themselves “unexpectedly” pregnant.  Let us open our shores to those experiencing persecution.  Let us reach out to those who have lost loved ones.  Let us show compassion to those who have loved ones in prison.  Let us reach out to all families with love, compassion and generosity.  In doing so, we are reaching out to Joseph, Mary and Jesus, for as Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Author: yuengerwv

Retired Catholic Priest

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