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12/27/15 Holy Family - Fr. Reggie

It is easy for us to forget that the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today, was a real family. We have all seen paintings and holy cards that depict them in a super-pious, unrealistic, sometimes surrealistic, way. But they were real human beings, just like us, and they lived in the real world, the fallen world, just like us. The fact that Mary and Jesus were unaffected by original sin and that Joseph was a saint doesn't change the reality of their family life and their struggles.

In today's Gospel, we actually see Mary scolding Jesus. She says that she and Joseph were "looking for him with great anxiety." In other words, they were worried sick about him! That's reality. We have all experienced “great anxiety” in relation to our families, our relationships, and the problems that constantly bombard us as we journey through this fallen world.

But Jesus responds to Mary's scolding in a surprising way. He doesn't apologize for having gone off on his own without telling them. Instead, he simply says that they should have known that they could find him in the Temple, which he calls "his Father's house."

What’s going on here? Jesus is part of the Holy Family, an earthly family. But he is also part of a differentheavenly family, that of the Holy Trinity. This is the lesson he teaches Joseph and Mary on this occasion. And it's also the lesson he wants to remind us of today, because ever since we became his brothers and sisters at baptism, we too have been members of two families: one natural, and the other (the Church) supernatural.

Keeping this in mind can be a huge help in our day-to-day living, for three reasons.

In the first place, it helps us keep our priorities straight.

Secondly, keeping in mind that we are part of two families helps keep us on track in the midst of life's storms.

Finally, remembering that we are members of both a natural family and a supernatural family helps us overcome temptations to selfishness, which is poison for all family life.


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