Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life. (Ps 128:1-5)
Family sure gets knocked around nowadays. Many of us can remember “family time” of old. When I was growing up, it was an extremely rare occasion when the family did not have dinner together. At dinner we would review our day, laugh at the funny things that happened during the day, commiserate over the unfortunate things, and look ahead to the next day. After dinner, we would be dismissed to do our homework or, if it was already done, to play outside.
Families today do not have that same experience. It is now an extremely rare occasion when the family gets together for dinner (or practically anything else, for that matter). The family is kicked around quite easily.
Family even gets kicked around liturgically this year. Typically, the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on one of the Sundays of the Christmas Season. However, since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, the Holy Family and the Baptism of the Lord have been relegated to other days. The Holy Family gets moved to the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas and the Baptism of the Lord will be celebrated on the Monday following the Epiphany.
Whatever we have to say about our families, for good or ill, they have been given to us by God. If our families are wonderful, we can see God’s blessings in abundant forms. If our families are difficult, God is still present in our midst, doing His best to interject His peace and love. We just need to look harder to see Him.
It might help us to remember that things were not 100% peachy keen fo the Holy Family. Shortly after their marriage and with Mary very pregnant, Joseph and Mary had to make their way to Bethlehem for a mandated census. After the birth of Jesus, they were uprooted and had to run to Egypt because Herod was trying to find the Child Jesus in order to put Him to death so that He would not be a threat to Herod’s monarchy. The family struggled and moved from place to place. Yet they knew that God was with them in the good days and the not so good days.
God is and will be with us in our good days and not so good days as well. Hope for it, count on it, and live that promise in your hearts and lives.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all families, most especially struggling or dysfunctional families, that they may live in God’s peace.