The Feast of The Holy Family
The feast of The Holy Family is a day in which we focus on Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and this year falls on Friday 30th December. The feast calls us to contemplate the family through prayer and reflection. We keep in our prayer the vocation to marriage and family life, couples who are discerning marriage, those who have recently married, those celebrating special anniversaries and all the joys of family life.
Soon after the birth of Christ, The Holy Family left Bethlehem and fled to Egypt for safety, this is not too dissimilar 2000 or so years later, as we see families displaced from their homes and towns, fleeing to protect their families from danger. Pope Francis in his Christmas Eve Homily in 2017 reflected on this as he said:
“So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away, but driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones. In many cases this departure is filled with hope, hope for the future; yet for many others this departure can only have one name: survival. Surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.
The faith we proclaim tonight makes us see that God is present in all those situations where we think he is absent. He is present in the unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognizable, who walks through our cities and our neighbourhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our doors.”
As we spend Christmas with our families, let us pray in celebration for the vocation of marriage and family life. It’s a time to remember family members who have passed on as we contemplate their influence on our lives. We also pray for those families who cannot be together or who struggle at this time, that through the healing power of God there can be peace and unity. As we journey with The Holy Family to the stable and beyond, we hold in our hearts the importance of whatever God’s will is for our families and may we be open to hear his call, just like Joseph and Mary.