Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family Year A
Theme: Virtues of family life
By: Fr. Agustin Mateo, Pastor
St. Rose of Lima Parish, Gaithersburg, MD
Homily for Sunday December 29 2019
Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family – Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. This feast always takes place on the Sunday immediately following Christmas, since it is about Jesus’ childhood. The first and the second readings are about the virtues of family life. In the gospel of Matthew, we hear that Joseph and Mary were some of the first disciples of the New Testament because of their obedience to the word of God. Joseph, who was a just man, listens and obeys the command of the angel, just as Mary did at the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel. Joseph obeys the angel, takes the child and his mother into Egypt so that Herod may not kill Jesus. Then, Joseph will have to repeat this obedience to bring the child back to Israel. Even though we know little of Jesus’ upbringing and childhood, by the justice, humility, and virtues of Joseph and Mary, we can know how the child Jesus was brought up in his early childhood. Jesus grew up as an obedient servant to the voice and will of God, just as his parents did. The Holy Family of Nazareth was a domestic Church where all the members, as faithful servants, listened to and obeyed the voice of our heavenly Father.
As brothers and sisters of St. Rose of Lima Parish, we also are members of the Sunday family, the Church, where all of us gather around the table of the Word and the Sacrament. As the family of Nazareth, we have the opportunity to listen to the voice of God and obey it at the liturgy of the Word. Then, we also gather around the table, the altar, to be fed on the sacrifice that came about because Christ was obedient unto death. The family of Jesus had to repeat this experience of listening, obeying, and sacrificing their lives for the salvation of many. This is what a family does, so that all its members may experience life. Jesus himself told us that we can become his brothers and sisters by humbly obeying his will, “for whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mk 3:35). In this way, all of us open outward to become part of Jesus’ new and larger family in the Church.
We can see our own families as a domestic Church in which we put into practice the pattern of self-sacrificing love we encounter in the Eucharist. This Sunday, the Holy Family of Nazareth gives us one of the keys to become disciples of Jesus, which is attentive listening to his voice and obedience to it. Only in this way, we can flee from the culture of death and secularism, which endangers the values of the family of Nazareth. St. Joseph took the child and his mother and protected them from Herod. As children learn to obey their parents in the family, so parents, in turn, must obey God so that they must pass on the faith to their children. All of us are on the way to become faithful obedient disciples in the family and in the Church.
Let us ask the Lord for the humble obedience to his word so that we may protect the person of Christ and Mary in our families, at home and at our Church of St. Rose of Lima.