Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The readings for today can be found here.

Today we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Certainly this family wasn't the one that Mary and Joseph had each imagined in their youth. Joseph must have imagined that his wife would bear his children, and many of them. Mary must have though the same thing. This feast day demonstrates to us, that no matter how we imagine life at its ideal, God has something much, much greater planned.

Mary, young and faithful to the Lord, would have been a casualty in the society she lived in had Joseph not married her. She would have been stoned as an adulterer. Joseph could have married her and divorced her quietly as he had planned. However, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him the truth of God's plan for him. He was to take Mary and protect her, and protect the child Jesus that came from God. By Joseph's obedience to God, he enabled Mary to do God's will.

Joseph again protected Mary and Jesus when he led them out of Bethlehem and into Egypt. The scriptures do not tell what happened, but I'm sure many can imagine. Mary had just had a child, Jesus was a small infant. Joseph had to protect their identity lest they be killed along the way. He had to plan the trip, provide for them, and bring them food and water. Joseph's protection permitted Jesus to grow into a young boy, and then grow into the man who became our savior.

There are many feast days of Mary, and daily we celebrate Jesus. On this feast of the Holy Family, let us celebrate Joseph, the head of the Holy Family. Let us celebrate his acceptance of God's plan, his openness to change, his quick thinking, his bravery, and his desire to serve God no matter what others thought. Every family needs a leader. Joseph served in this roll, under God's command. Today let us pray with St. Joseph's intercession for the head of our family, and the head of all families. Let us pray that men may trust in God's plan for them and their families and that they may be brave in the face of challenges. Let us pray that they may love and serve their family as Christ loved and served the Church.

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