Pastor’s Reflection for the Feast Day of the Holy Family

December 20, 2021 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

His parents found Jesus sitting in the midst of the teachers.”

Most of us grew up, or are growing up, in a family with both parents, and maybe a sister, or brother, or two, or more.  How important is it to grow up in a family?  We cannot place a value on the family into which we were born.

Our reading from the Book of Sirach, a wisdom book from the Old Testament, tells us of the graces and benefits that come to children in families, who honor their fathers and mothers.  He calls on children to respect their parents, and by extension, everyone in their family.  He tells us to take care of our parents and to show them only kindness in their old age.

The Book of Sirach is telling us that honoring and respecting our parents and our families is living Christ’s Second Great Commandment of love, to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It also tells us what we accomplish for ourselves, in God’s eyes, by showing our love for Him when we do good works for others.  These words, written 2,200 years ago, hold true today.

St. Paul echoes this message in his Letter to the Colossians, telling members of a family how they should treat each other.  Husbands must love their wives as they do their own bodies, as Christ does for His Body, the Church.  Joseph protected and provided for Jesus and Mary. He named Jesus, taught Him how to pray, how to work, how to be a man.

When their 12-year-old child stayed behind in the Temple we are told that Joseph, along with Mary, searched with great anxiety for three days for Him.  They were looking for God, in Mary’s Son, Jesus.  Jesus had His priorities in order.  He was being obedient to His Father in heaven, first.  However, when Mary and Joseph found Him, to take Him home with them, Luke’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was obedient to His earthly family.

Do we look for God, searching sometimes all our lives to find Him?  Jesus told Mary and Joseph, “Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  God, the Father, wants each of us to be His house, the temple where Jesus can be found.  When Jesus can be found in us, we bring Him to the home where our family lives.

Each of us wrestles with identity issues, while at the same time embracing responsibilities toward our family.  Every parent wrestles with freedom issues for their child, while at the same time cooperating with God, trusting that their child is being protected.  Let us pray for all families this weekend, that this balance may be found, so that as families, we will always grow spiritually and in our trust in God, finding Jesus in “His Father’s house.”

– Bp. Roy Campbell

Related Articles