- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

December 30, 2016

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

Feast of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sirach 3: 2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3: 12-21; Matthew 2: 13-15, 19-23

The celebration of Christmas reminds us of God’s infinite love for the human race and of His tenacious fidelity to His promise of mercy. Once you remove the Angels, shepherds, star and magi, you are left with the three principal characters of the story: Jesus, Mary and Joseph – the Holy Family. Today’s celebration reminds us that the Only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father not only came into the world to show us how to live as Children of God, but also how to live as members of a human family, united in a bond of love. One lesson we learn throughout these days: family life is a work in progress that unfolds one day at a time.

The life of the infant is entrusted to the authority and care of His parents. The child is to be the joy and delight of His parents. The spouses are to be the companions and support of each other. Within the circle of the family, no one is to face the challenges of life alone. The family is intended to be the training ground where we learn to love and support one another. God is Love and it is in Him that we live and move and have our being.

The author of Genesis wrote: “God created man in His own image. In His own image God created him” (Gen. 1:27). By extension, you might say, “a community of love He made them.” The family serves as a sacrament of this fact: the Father as the giver and sustainer of life, the Mother as the nurturer of life and the Child as the product and reflection of their love. Through the family, God manifests Himself as Love and loving. In the embrace of the family, mankind encounters God. Out of His powerful goodness, God brought forth the world, out of the goodness that dwells in our hearts, we can work to establish a society that is just and humane.

Jesus is the power of God, stripped of all glory and entrusted to the care of Mary and Joseph. In the context of the family, we experience the dynamic love of the Trinity. Each person of the community of the Trinity serving and being served by the others. It is within this atmosphere of loving care that each member of the family lives and thrives. Matthew tells us that Mary and Joseph worked together to protect their child from the threats of Herod. In the face of a culture of death, they did all they could to save the life of their child. The bond of love is the seedbed of life for all the members of the family.

The family was created in the image and likeness of Trinity. The Word, the Only-begotten Son proceeds from the heart of the Father and manifests the Love of the Spirit that binds the Godhead together in one. The Son is not diminished by doing the will of the Father but rather brings about the transformation of all who have been created in His image and likeness. The Son of God became the Son of Mary to show us the Father’s love. It is not flesh and blood that leads us to the truth. It God With Us who moves us to share His secret thoughts. Through the intercession of the Holy Family may we draw near to the Eternal Three-In-One. Following the example of the Holy Family, may we be instruments of peace and conduits of mercy so that all people may come to newness of life in Christ.