Feast of the Holy Family

The first thing we must get straight is that a holy family isn’t a perfect family. Today’s gospel corrects any delusions about Jesus’ family being the perfect model. If a sentimental writer were describing his childhood, the family would stay pleasantly secure in a thatched cottage with climbing roses and a picket fence. Jesus would chat amiably with the squirrels and perform a miracle whenever Mary or Joseph needed help. Presto, bongo! A clean kitchen or a full water jug.
Instead, they share the dismal lot of harried refugees across the centuries: a hasty departure, a fearful journey, exile in a land where the language, foods and customs are foreign. Even their return home is overshadowed by the reigning thug. If Herod was mean and brutal, his son would likely be too. (“Like father, like son” is true not only for the healthy ones.)
By being part of a real family, not an ersatz, phony, plastic one, Jesus blesses our own families, with all their messy grit. He shows us that the family—not the church, retreat house, university or seminary—is the primary school of love and forgiveness. In ways that are charming, stupid or violent, families make mistakes. Furthermore, they are innocent victims of oppression like Herod’s. None of that seems to bother Jesus. He could’ve become human and lived his earthly life in a palace, synagogue or military post. Instead, he comes to an ordinary family, with all the graces and scars that entails. Thank God for that!

2 responses to “Feast of the Holy Family

  1. Dear Kathy,
    I will pray for you. God bless,

  2. I think this blog etc. is why I’m so very proud to be your good pall! So well done. Love you. P

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s