The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
December 29, 2019
Dear Followers of Jesus,
Family life is beautiful. Our blood relationships form us deeply. In childhood, we rely on family for food, shelter and love. Touch is key for us to survive. Being held helps us form our security, our sense of safety and attachment in the world. We are never far from our gene pool, no matter how we want to form our own identities. Love is real, imbedded in how life is passed on.
When we grow older, we instinctively want to separate from those we love. Living our own gifts, talents, and desires, is a good thing. Sometimes we make it on our own and sometimes we don’t. Family is a sure thing when we cultivate those relationships in freedom. So often getting to that point of freedom is not easy. Bickering, heartache, jealousy, and competition, are also firmly embedded in family relationships.
We also belong to a larger family. We belong to Christ Jesus because we are baptized in his suffering, death and resurrection. We call ourselves the Church. We belong to this group of people who are also human, who also make mistakes, which also cling to power rather than faith. However, we belong to this holy people who live and serve in our world, trying to unify the world and not separate it. We welcome the lost into the fold, the immigrants, the prisoner, the sick and the tired, and the child with special needs. We belong in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes we also bicker about who belongs in the Church. Sometimes we don’t want to give up our places when our decision processes are threatened. Change can be a threatening word when we think we are in control. The dynamics of Church life are just like an extended family.
Today’s celebration of the Holy Family reveals to us that water is thicker than blood. We say that because the waters of baptism wash up in our lives and allow us to be part of the miracle of the Incarnation. We become the extended family of Jesus because we are born again in baptism. We die to self and live in him. This takes us an entire lifetime to fully realize and admit. Growing up in the Church and taking responsibility for our faith is never easy.
The Holy Family is not just a tight three-unit group. The Holy Family becomes all of us who make a decision to follow Jesus through the depths of our baptism. We don’t age out of baptism. We don’t stop growing up in faith. We don’t take our relationship with Christ for granted.
The sacrament of baptism is not something that ends after a private ceremony. Baptism is the way in which we all belong in the Church and to one another. Our baptism allows us to belong, if we want to our not, to those who are different from ourselves and those who even live their faith differently. We belong to those who struggle, those who sin and those who are lost. We even belong to the dead, those who have found their way to the face of Christ. We are the Church, the People of God. We are the Church, the Holy Family here on earth…and in heaven.
Blessings to you and your household,