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Holy Family Sunday, Year C – Homily

Holy Family, Year C
1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Luke 2:41-52
December 27, 2015

We just celebrated Christmas and now we hear Jesus is twelve years old.  Boy, they do grow up fast!

Well, actually that’s not the point of today’s gospel.  I see two purposes behind this gospel.  First, it shows us that Jesus was raised in a faithful family who followed the Jewish customs, including coming to Jerusalem for the Passover each year.

It also tells us that Jesus’ wisdom, even at the age of twelve, surpassed the human knowledge of the scholars in the Temple.  As an adult Jesus will offer us the Truth and explain what it really means for us.

Today’s feast of the Holy Family is about the first, what it means to be faithful.

For Jesus’ family, it meant celebrated the Passover.  Easter becomes the Passover for Christians but for us the Passover meal has become the Eucharist that we celebrate weekly and even daily.

In Jesus’ day being faithful meant being circumcised.  This marked giving your life to the Lord.  For us as Christians this happens in baptism where we are given new life and become children of God.

Being a family today can be a challenge.  Being a faithful family is even harder.

Life of 2,000 years ago seems simpler.  When Jesus was twelve years old, Joseph and Mary lost Jesus.  This is never a good thing but who could imagine these circumstances today.  They had been to Jerusalem for the Passover and were returning home in the caravan.  Mary and Joseph feel safe in assuming he is with them somewhere in the caravan.  Would you do this today?  Don’t you make sure you have all your kids with you when you leave?

We baptize our kids but how much do we make sure they practice their faith?  I was baptized when I was ten months old but we didn’t always go to church.  When I turned twelve and was confirmed, we stopped going at all.  NOT a good thing!  I knew of the faith but I wasn’t truly committed to the faith.

We can mean the best but we live in a very busy world that pulls us in many different directions.  Kids today are involved in many different activities.  I might speculate that for some families, the only time they truly spend together is when they are in the car driving someplace.  Is this really “family time”?  Mom might be driving Julie to one activity while Dad is driving Bobby to a different activity.

How many of these activities occur on Sunday morning?  How easy is it to say missing Mass one Sunday really isn’t that important?  One Sunday becomes two, two becomes three,…

For those who feel missing one Sunday at church doesn’t matter, I invite you ponder missing one Sunday in relation to missing one sports/play practice or game.  Why is it OK to miss church but not a practice?

Before I keep going down this path, let’s get back to the topic of being a family.  What does it mean to you to be a family?  Do you spend any time together?  Do you sit down together for dinner?  Do you know what is going on in each other’s lives? For adults, how much contact do you have with your siblings?  Here, social media can give us a false impression.  You can put a lot of words on social media but are you really “communicating” anything?  Do you really know how the other person is feeling?

I mean none of this to be judgmental.  We live in a challenging time.  There is divorce.  I know because my parents divorced when I was ten years old.  This changed what it meant to be a family for me growing up.

I spoke about communicating with family.  I have to admit, except for my dad, I don’t have a lot of communication with my family.

Being a family takes work.  Are we committed to the work?  How about our role as children of God?  Are we committed to our spiritual family where God is our Father?  Might there be a New Year’s Resolution here?

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