THE HOLY FAMILY
1 samuel 1:20-22, 24-28 or sirach 3:2-6; 12-14; 1 john 3:1-2, 21-24 or colossians 3:12-21; luke 2:41-52
a little boy asks his father as he returns from work: «daddy, how much do you make an hour?» the father is surprised and says: «son, not even your mum asks that question!» the boy insists: «daddy, tell me please! how much do you make an hour?» the father gives up and replies: «about two hundred rupees.» the boys says: «daddy, could you loan me a hundred?» the father yells: «so that’s why you asked how much i earn! go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!»
later, the father starts feeling guilty. maybe his son needed to buy something. finally, he goes to his son’s room and asks: «are you asleep, son?» «no, daddy. why?» replies the boy. the father gives his son a hundred rupees. «thanks, daddy!» replies the boy, and then he reaches under his pillow and brings out some more money. «now i have enough! daddy, here’s two hundred rupees! could you spend one hour with me?»
the greatest threat facing families today is we don’t spend (enough) time together. we are busy working or watching our screens, and we have little time for each other. today’s feast challenges us to spend more time with our families.
the holy family spent time together doing religious things: «every year the parents of JESUS used to go to jerusalem for the feast of passover» and «when he was twelve years old they went up for the feast as usual.» the distance between nazareth and jerusalem was over a hundred kilometres; most of the travelling was done on foot and the journey was dangerous. despite hardships, mary and joseph observed the prescriptions of their religion.
the holy family was one that came together at mealtime: «in the evening they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances.» on pilgrimage, men travelled in one group and women in another, and children with either group. but joseph and mary were particular that they should come together for the meal.
further, when we realize that for every one year of his public life, JESUS spent ten years in family, we understand the importance and priority he gave to family.
may our celebration of the holy family challenge us to value our families, to invest in them, and to spend time together. amen.