Theme: THE MODEL FAMILY OF NAZARETH
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday December 26 2021
R1 – Sir 3:2-6,12-14
R2 – Col 3:12-21
GOSPEL – Luke 2:41-52
Pope Francis, once narrated a story of a family with a mother, father, many children and a grandfather. The grandfather, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, would drop food on the dinning table, drop and break cups and plates, and pour food all over his face when he ate, making mess of the whole place. His son considered it disgusting. Hence, he went out one day and bought a small table, a wooden plate and spoon and set it off to the side of the dinning room so that the grandfather could eat on a different table, make mess and not disturb the rest of the family-an indirect way of segregating against the father because of his pathetic state
One day, this young man who cut off the Dad from the family share of love at the dinning table, came home and saw his son playing with a piece of wood. “What are you doing with that piece of wood?” he asked his son. “I am making a table” the son replied. “Why?” asked the father. “It is for you, Dad. When you get old and become sick like Grandpa, I am going to give you this table, get a wooden plate and spoon for you so that you wouldn’t make mess of my dinning.” Ever since that day, the grandfather was given a prominent seat at the dinning table and all the help he needed by his own son and daughter-in-law.
Beloved in Christ, today is the Feast of Holy Family. The family is the first institution established by God inorder to foster mutual love, respect and understanding. The family remains the fulcrum of the society, where the rejected, unloved, sick, aged, dejected, unlovable, depressed and downtrodden should get reassurance of hope, care and love as we see in the introit story. That is why, in his Apostolic Exhortation, ” _Familiaris Consortio”,_ Pope St JohnPaul II, establishing the primacy and importance of the family, says, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, so goes the world in which we live.”
Today, the Church sets apart the Holy Nazareth Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a prototype family; an inspiration, exemplary and model family for all Christian families. The Church purposely avoided using the term “Perfect Family” or “Ideal Family.” This is in order for us to avoid the temptation of looking at the Holy Family as an unreachable ideal, something that is too good to be true; and so that we may not hide behind alibis and excuses not to pursue growth and holiness for our families.
The first reading of this Sunday shortlists the three different components of a family: father, mother and children. It equally outlines the position of each member in relation to one another: “The Lord honors the father in his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.” Each is important and unique in their positions
In today’s second reading, Paul identified the Christian virtues that are very Paramount in sustaining our families. They include: compassion, kindness, patience, and forgiveness towards every member of our family. Most importantly, Paul says: “Put on love and let the peace of Christ control your hearts.”
While the Gospel reading, presents the T-E-A-M Spiritedness that aided the Holy Family in both good and bad time. The long sought for the child Jesus for three days was a challenging time for the Holy Family, yet, together they achieved more.
However, there is a Corpus of pertinent questions that summarise today’s feast:
● *WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES THE NAZARETH FAMILY HOLY?*
(i) Is it a family without problems and challenges?
(ii) Is it a family without needs?
(iii) Is it a family with affluence, riches and provisions? *NEVER!*
The truth of th)e matter is that the Holy Family was not exempt from the harsh realities of life, from troubles and problems that beset our families today. Many families now are complaining about economic difficulties. But the Holy Family was in a far worse condition.
The Nazareth Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was a “poor peasant and low class family”, with Joseph’s “cut and join carpentry expertise” as the only source of their income. Indeed, the Holy Family faced alot of problems, challenges, crisis, needs and with little or no provisions to settle them as:
(a) The pregnancy crisis (Matt 1:18)
(b) Emergency flight to Egypt (Matt 2:13)
(c) The urgent call to return from Egypt (Matt 2:19)
(d) The prophecy at the presentation that a sword shall pierce Mary’s soul (Lk 2:35)
(e) The distress of searching and finding the child Jesus (Lk 2:48)
(f) The events of the crucifixion of Jesus (otu nwa) (Jn 19:25-26).
*WHAT MAKES THE POOR NAZARETH FAMILY HOLY AND OUTSTANDING*
There are four things that differentiate the Nazareth Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph from other families and place it as a model and Holy Family for all ages. They include:
(1) THE PRESENCE OF JESUS
(2) OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF GOD
(3) THE VIRTUE OF T-E–A-M SPIRIT
(4) MUTUAL LOVE
*(1) THE PRESENCE OF JESUS*
The presence of Jesus makes the Nazareth Family Holy. So, it takes the presence of Jesus to make our families holy. We can attract Christ’s presence by making our homes domestic churches. According to the _Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church_ : “The family is, so to speak, the Domestic Church” ( _Lumen Gentium_ #11). This means that it is in the context of the family that we first learn who Jesus is and to prayerfully seek His will for us.
(2) *OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF GOD*
Very outstanding about the Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is obedience to the will of God, even when it hurts. They placed God first in every of their undertakings. So, they became a faith-model family by obeying the will of God.
The real test of faith is obedience to God’s will. Mary’s Fiat and Joseph’s radical faith and Obedience enabled them to accept God’s plans. They acted with promptness and availability in obeying the will of God that perfected the joy we are sharing at Christmas today. The same obedience to the will of God, was manifested by Jesus, even unto death on a cross (Matt 26:39; Phil 2:6-10).
*(3) THE VIRTUE OF T-E–A-M SPIRIT*
T-E-A-M Spirit within this context means : T-TOGETHER E-EVERYONE A-ACHIEVES M-MORE (Together everyone achieves more).
One of the greatest secrets of the Holy Nazareth family lies in working as a team, both in good and challenging times. They got each other’s back. They shared their sorrows and joys together. The T-E-A-M spiritedness of the Holy Family was phenomenal in tackling the challenges that preceded the birth of the Savior, down to the various flights to and fro Egypt.
(4) MUTUAL LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING
The level of mutuality and understanding that existed between the Holy family are second to none. No love relationship thrives without understanding. Love blossoms when we understand people’s around us, how and why they behave the way they do. Pope Francis did say, “There is no perfect family… it’s understanding and love that blossom the family.
Finally, a little boy one day, greeted his mother as she returns late from work with a question: “Mummy, how much do you make an hour?” The mother got surprised and pondered why would such a small boy be sarcastic in asking such question. With great indignation, the mother responded, “Look, son, no one knows what I earn per year. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” “But Mummy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?” the boy insists. The mother finally gives up and replies, “Twenty dollars.” “Okay, Daddy,” the boy continues, “Could you loan me ten dollars?” The mother yells at him, “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Now, go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!” At night the mother thinks over what he said and starts feeling guilty. Maybe his son needed to buy something. Finally, She goes to her son’s room. “Are you asleep, son?” asks the mother. “No, Mum. Why?” replies the boy. “Here’s the money you asked for earlier,” the father said. “Thanks, Mummy!” replies the boy and receives the money. The he reaches under his pillow and brings out some more money. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” says the boy to his mother, “Mummyy, could you sell me one hour of your time?
Beloved, imagine the level of psychological trauma and unrest the little boy may have been passing through, because of lack of care and love… The Holy family expressed great care and concern towards the well-being and safety of the child Jesus.
MAY THE CELEBRATION OF THE HOLY NAZARETH FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH, YIELD ABUNDANT FRUITS OF HOLINESS, MUTUAL RESPECT, LOVE AND HUMILITY IN OUR HOMES.
_FR GERALD MUOKA_)