Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was brought up in Nazareth by Mary and Joseph. He wasn’t an alien from outer space: He didn’t suddenly appear from nowhere, but emerged from within the tradition of Judaism in first-century Palestine. He didn’t grow up by Himself in the wilderness, like His cousin, John, but grew within a family, and within a particular neighbourhood. Like any good Jewish son, He listened to His parents’ teachings (most of the time?) and obeyed them (…but he was still a boy – “in a minute”?!!!). From them He had His first experience of being loved, being held, and lovingly cared for. We also hear that, like every family, Jesus had His share of peculiar relatives and neighbours. But at the centre of Jesus’ family life, and at the centre of His ministry, is one irreplaceable Person – God, His Father.
For Jesus, that relationship is the most important in His life: it’s what gives Him His direction and support; it’s what will sustain Him in His passion and death.
Like Jesus, we are also asked to centre our lives on God’s Word, whether we live alone or in a family, whether we have busloads of (equally peculiar) relatives or not! We can all be members of Jesus’ new family. There’s only one qualification… to hear the Word of God and carry it out. Because Jesus extended His family to all of us, today’s feast really belongs to all of us. So take a good look round at your family!
Today we think of the Holy Family… Jesus, Mary and Joseph. When we think of them, we also want to thank God for our own family. We’ve all had a great time over Christmas. We’ve received gifts, and given gifts to others. This was how we showed our love. Next Sunday we’ll hear how the three Wise Men travelled a long distance to bring gifts to the baby Jesus. They represented US. The gift we can give Jesus is still the same today… the gift of LOVE.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you all a very happy, peaceful and blessed New Year.
Emmanuel, God-with-us, we ask You to walk alongside all those who suffer, especially children. We ask You to shine a bright light into the darkness of terror and war, and to grant courage to all those who are committed to peace.
THOUGHT FOR THE NEW YEAR
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I shall do His work; I shall do good; I shall be a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it… if only I keep His commandments.