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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Holy Family



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As we celebrate the octave of Christmas, we remember the gift of family life and the example of the family life.  We are invited to reaffirm and reengage in family life.  Family life is a struggle, a challenge that requires the best of us day after day after day.  Even with God's grace, this is work, a cross, but definitely worth it.
The 2nd reading: God invites us to be a part of His family.  We are united to Jesus in such a close way that we are called "children of God."  God desires to be so close to us that he draws us into the most intimate type of relation we know of, that of family.

The 1st reading: Our families are to be dedicated to God.
Hannah gives her son, Samuel, completely to God.  Our families are for God, even if it means real sacrifices.  There is a temptation to get too self-focused - or too family-focused - so that it seems to be us vs. the world, but rather our families are called to be a light for others.  Our lives are not for ourselves, nor are our families.  The same goes for the church.  We aren't here to make ourselves holy just so that we can get to heaven or be happy.  No, we are called to share this with others, and so also with the family.

Holy family is not perfect family.  There is no perfect family.  I just spent three

Poor Saint Joseph, always going to Confession alone.

A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.  If we are trying to live our family life well, it isn't about never messing up, but is about continually rededicating ourselves to growing and improving.  Our strength lies in the little things.  The Christian life, and also the family life, is more like a marathon.

Three simple pieces of daily family life are wrapped up in simple phrases.
1. I am sorry.  apologize.  Admit we are wrong.  Seek reconciliation.
2. I forgive you.  Really let go.  Desire reconciliation and healing more than winning.
3. I love you.  This is what make a holy family.  Love as Jesus loves us, as God our heavenly father who invites us to be part of His family, loves us.

If we can say these three things and grow in them one day at a time, then our families will be what they are meant to be: a light for the world through which the love of Jesus can shine upon others who really need it, and allow our families to be a safe haven for others to come and find healing and strength they need to live their own lives in Christ Jesus.  Let us pray to Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus, that they may intercede for us to truly live this vocation in our homes.

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