As Catholic Feasts are celebrated, the Feast of the Holy Family which we celebrate this weekend is a relatively new feast. It began to be celebrated in the universal Church in 1920. Devotion to the Holy Family became popular during the 17th century. The theme of family and this feast dedicated to it, is of special importance today in the face of challenges to the contemporary family. Mary and Joseph along with the Christ Child gives us a perfection example of working together as a family. Love, compassion, sharing, caring for one another, are all examples that the three members of the Holy Family provide for us. As couples today have problems and concerns with one another, I invite them to take a good look at Mary and Joseph. Mary, a young girl finds herself expecting a child, and the child was not that of her betrothed. Joseph finds his betrothed carrying a child which he knows is not his. That had to put a strain on the relationship! It took a lot of faith on the part of Joseph to accept the story of the Angel Gabriel and the Holy Spirit. Finally it took the Angel Gabriel face to face with Joseph before the situation becomes calm.
If all of that was not enough to break Mary and Joseph apart, then there was that trip to Bethlehem; a birth in a stable, and the sudden flight to Egypt, leaving behind home and job. All of this was with the fear of King Herod seeking to kill the new born child. Couples today who are having problems need to set down together and really look to what the Holy Family teaches through their own life of family. In fact all of us can learn many virtues from Joseph, Mary and Jesus if we would study their lives.
Joseph and Mary work together to provide for the Christ Child and in turn the Scriptures tell us that as Christ grows, He is obedient to Mary and His foster father, Joseph. All three members of the Holy Family have much to teach each of us, single, married, young or old. As we celebrate this feast, let it be a feast that we keep year around.