Dear People of God,
This weekend (Dec 27-28) we honor the Holy Family of Jesus and his parents, Mary & Joseph. The Holy Family are the model of following God's will in practical ways.
We imagine the frustration felt by Joseph and Mary as they tried to find a suitable place for Mary to give birth, only to be left with a cave-stable in Bethlehem. How must it have felt to inadequately provide comfort for God's Son? Yet, the Lord seemed to show them that he wanted to be born into such poverty. Accepting this as the Lord's will could not have been easy. Do we accept poverties as God sends them?
We remember when Joseph was told in a dream to move his wife and child to the foreign land of Egypt. They left Bethlehem in fear of King Herod's attempt to kill Jesus and traveled to Egypt, where they would stay for eight years before moving back to Nazareth. Imagine having to move your family because of danger, landing in a foreign country, trying to find new jobs, learning a new language, etc... It would have been stressful and full of continued sufferings. Yet, it was part of God's will that they struggle through it together. Do we accept sufferings as God sends them?
We know little of Joseph's early death and Mary's role as a single mother, but we do know that Joseph was deceased by the time Jesus started his public ministry. Imagine the consolation Joseph had at the moment of his death knowing that his adoptive son would rescue him from true death of his soul. He would have had no fears of accepting it as God's will, even though it meant leaving his family behind with much work to be done in God's vineyard. Do we accept God's will regarding death and salvation?
One of the fruits of a life lived in God's Holy Spirit is joy. We can imagine Mary, Joseph, and Jesus laughed a lot, and often. Joy is a fruit born of peaceful coexistence and authentic charity for those around us, where we look out for their best interests above our own. Thus, it is easy to think of the self-less giving that Joseph and Mary showed to Jesus, to raise him with real joy for serving God at all times. Do we choose to love in a manner that brings others joy through our self-gift?
I pray the Holy Family inspires you to accept God's will, whatever it be, so that you may experience joy.
~ Fr. Aaron Kuhn