Random Thoughts on the Feast of the Holy Family

I love this feast day. I loved today’s first reading, Sirach 3,2-6.12-14. Especially the line that jumped out at me this morning: “he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.” And today’s Office of Readings included Ephesians 5:21 – 6:4 and a wonderful meditation on the home in Nazareth by Pope Paul VI. Good stuff to chew on, a good way to begin a new year, to think about goals, one of the most important of mine being renewing my focus on my family.

Attending mass at my parents’ parish, St Louis in Austin, is always a treat. The music is superb. Bell was on her very best behavior. We had a good homily by the deacon, I especially appreciated his exhortation about faith education: Most adults are trying to get by on what they learned about the faith as children. We wouldn’t expect that to be enough in any other area of life.

Speaking of good homilies, I just read another great homily by Fr. Martin Fox of Bonfire of the Vanities.

So often priests don’t know how to address important issues (I’m not going to use the words because I don’t want to deal with the spam) from the pulpit without offending the innocence of children and thus these important topics are neglected. Father Fox manages to say what needs to be said so that those who need to understand will understand:

Some people don�t �fit the mold�;
some can�t marry as God and nature define marriage.
It�s not our place to redefine marriage;
but it is certainly our place�indeed,
it�s absolutely our obligation before God�
to embrace everyone without mockery,
without ugliness, as Christ in our midst!

We hold up the Holy Family as an ideal;
but Christ knows well how �dysfunctional�
our families can be.
That�s why he came to be part of our human family!

no explicit language that children might understand or ask hard-to-answer questions about and yet he doesn’t talk around the issue either:

Christ the man saw women as Images of God,
not as servants, or imaginary partners on the Internet.

And yet it’s not just an “issue” homily, it delves into the meaning of the feast and helps to break open the meaning of scriptures. It’s not just a feel-good homily either, father manages to talk about sin and our need for healing. Above all, like all his homilies, it’s short, readable, and thought provoking. Thanks again, Father, for taking the time to compose good homilies and to share them with the world.

Yes, our families are far from the ideal.
But they, too, can be �holy families.�
Not because they look like a Christmas card,
but because we let Christ bring courage,
and healing, and hope:

Not to the families of our dreams,
but to the real family life we actually have.

Finally, I was very moved by this commentary on today’s gospel. For brevity’s sake (I know,I know too late) I won’t excerpt it; but do click through to read it.

6 Responses to Random Thoughts on the Feast of the Holy Family

  1. The Bookworm December 31, 2007 at 12:18 pm #

    Snap. My Cherub was up most of the time between 2 and 4 last night … teething? cough left over from last week’s illness (though it doesn’t sound too bad)? Whatever it was, she was decidedly unsettled. I hope you all get a better night’s sleep tonight.

  2. melaniebett December 31, 2007 at 12:56 pm #

    “I hope you all get a better night’s sleep tonight.”

    The same to you.

  3. The Bookworm December 31, 2007 at 1:14 am #

    Hmm … we are visiting friends to see the New Year in, so when and where Little Cherub will sleep is anyone’s guess. When my older two and our friends’ children were little we used to put them all to bed at their house and then carry our two home still fast asleep. Now our friends live a few miles away instead of 50 yards and the big ones stay up and make lots of noise, so putting Cherub to bed just won’t work. Hopefully she will be exhausted enough by the time we get home to sleep deeply for the rest of the night, and not too over-tired, grouchy and unsettled to sleep properly!

  4. melanie December 31, 2007 at 1:24 am #

    Oh, that is tough. I know some children can be put down anywhere. I’m afraid Isabella takes after me.

    I never let my parents put me to sleep in a strange place even when all of my peers were quite happy bedding down all together in the hosting couple’s master bed. No, I insisted on being taken home at 8 to be put down in my own bed. A sort of early-bird Cinderella.

    In fact, I think this whole visit we’re getting off fairly easily because my sister, God bless her, is sleeping on the couch, giving up the other spare bedroom to Bella’s use. If she were sharing a room with us, I fear her sleep would be even more interrupted. 

  5. Alice Gunther December 31, 2007 at 2:09 am #

    Oh, no!  Lack of sleep is the worst!

    Praying for you to have a peaceful rest tonight, and happy New Year!

  6. The Bookworm January 1, 2008 at 5:36 am #

    Sounds like my eldest daughter. She would sleep elsewhere, but only tucked up in a quiet room in her own travel cot (folding crib?).

    We managed to wear Cherub out last night wink. She finally zonked out on my lap at 10.45 and was so fast asleep I was able just to lay her down on the sofa. She even slept through ten minutes of kids letting off party poppers until she was finally woken by the finale of the fireworks in London (on the TV). When we got home she went straight to sleep in her own bed and stayed that way all night.

    Happy New Year to you and your family smile.

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