Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Theme: The true humanity of Jesus
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday December 26 2021
The Family is part of God’s wish and gift to every human person. In the family, the gifts of love and life are given, received and nurtured. The Family is the natural bedrock of the development and flourishing of many great men and women of all ages and generations. Unfortunately also, certain lived conditions and human exigencies makes this gift unrealistic to some persons and a source of trauma and regret to others. In the Holy Family, we discover the blessedness of the Family Life and its indispensability for integral human growth according to God’s plan and will. May the grace and splendour of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph flow into our families and homes; Amen.
The Feast of the Holy Family is one of the Church’s Liturgical celebrations that bring us to appreciate the true humanity of Jesus Christ and to reflect on the contributions of those closest to Him on the path to His success story; from the moment of His Conception in the Womb of the Virgin Mary to the moment of the achievement of His sublime and divine Mission on the Cross. Mary and Joseph gave Jesus the best they could afford and offered Him the best experience of human love and affection. This could be seen in the life and ministry of Jesus as He was always full of salvific affection and compassion towards those He encountered on His way, especially those who were open to the grace of God. The Gospel Reading (Luke 2:41-52) presents us with a very special moment in the Holy Family of Nazareth; a moment of tension and confusion. These tension and confusion were captured in the words of Mary to Jesus; “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” This moment in the History of the Holy Family speaks loudly to us about the concrete experiences of every human family. It takes a lot of sacrifice to successfully navigate through the moments of tensions and challenges in our families. The Family Life is an elevated form of life decorated by many glorious elements through which God transforms our human families into spheres of integral human development. These glorious elements are multiplied through proper management of Family challenges and difficulties inspired by the commandments of God. In fact, every family tension could be managed with love and tenderness. This is partly what distinguishes the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph for which the Holy Family remains the model for every human family.
The History of Salvation is full of many families who accomplished great things through their faithfulness to God and fidelity to His commandments. It was never rosy for them. They all had their story with God and the heroic moments that made them remain examples for us. The parents of Samuel, Hannah and Elkanah, had their own unique experience. The First Reading (1Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28) narrates to us how their faithfulness to God and fidelity to His commands led them to make an experience of God’s powerful intervention in their family. This experience challenged their faith in God and changed their attitude for better. This was the inspiration behind Hannah’s boldness and generous spirit, “this is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord.” A great deal of our history and story is shaped by our families. It is in the family and through the family that God naturally begins the initial stages of the manifestations of the wonders of our existence. However, the family that is the fertile ground for God’s manifestation of His glory and love in us is ordinarily the family that is faithful to God and established on His commandments and love. This is very true about the Holy Family! This is also true about the various families that have contributed greatly to the building up of the society in the History of Salvation! In such families, we learn to rever God, to obey His commands and to grow and live in His love. Through such families, it becomes easier for us to discover and maintain our status as God’s children, and to reflect and “think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are” (1John 3:1-2,21-24). Any family that wishes to make it in this regard must look up to the Holy Family where God left us the perfect example of what Family Life is all about.
Lord, transform our families into spheres for the manifestations of Your grace and the abode for our experience and growth in Your love. May families passing through difficult times be inspired by the faith and experience of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph; Amen. Happy Sunday;
Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE