Saint Paul says:
“Concerning times and seasons…you yourselves know very well
that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
On Monday we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, preceded by our celebration of The Holy Family. By providing these back to back observances, think of the Church as fortifying and arming us for 2018. In drawing from the example and story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, the Church wishes us to see how powerful our families can be in healing a hurting and wearied world. On the one hand, bringing relief and peace in our own homes and communities, while on the other hand extending the image to a healed and even “holy family of humankind.”
But what can a family actually accomplish? Well, the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, number one, trusted in God! Mary and Joseph trusted in God’s rather dramatic and even shocking intervention into their pretty poor, humble, but politically challenged lives. Jesus trusted in the one whom he knew to be his Heavenly Father. They became refugees for their lives under threat of a dictating despot, Herod Antipas, who produced cause for our feast, earlier this week, of the Feast of The Holy Innocents. And still they trusted. Their Life as a family has become, in all its iconic dimensions, the model for all families. Integrity, fidelity, courage, and an abiding powerful love for each other (to overcome and endure the seemingly impossible), has become the hallmark for every family—whether it be the nuclear family or the family of humankind. [BTW: this is not to be understood as “Our family has gone nuclear!,” but rather the family such as we might find ourselves under one roof—or, the human race on this one planet, part of a galaxy among billions or more of galaxies in the universe.]
Ah—Our year of the Eucharist as Our Center at St. Rita! Jesus brought to us “Life in the Holy Trinity.” Fully human, fully divine, Jesus revealed that we must understand all of our relationships as flowing from God’s being in relationship—within God’s self! God is at once singular and plural—individual and in relationship. [Try seeing that the next time a priest holds up the Host.] Our families, then, find holiness according to divine order; that is, we must bring the best of ourselves to a familial holy communion. And when it works, don’tcha know, it’s a little bit of heaven on earth. Other times—not so much—due to the whole sin thing. But then, we have a Redeemer and a Savior who has our backs when we call upon him.
Again, we find ourselves poised to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God on the first day of the new year, 2018. I could not do better that to repeat the counsel of our Deacon Manuel, who preached on this now past 4th Sunday of Advent: “Mary pondered all these things in her heart”—so should we! We do this like Mary, with doubt, at times, says Deacon Manuel, but never with “smug certainty.” To enter into the mystery of The Holy Family, is to prepare for a new year that already portents formidable challenges. Agree? And how do you yourself list them? –Best, then, I think, to have Mary’s attitude going forward: “Be it done unto me according to YOUR will, Lord” [because I know] “You bring down the mighty from their thrones and you exalt the lowly and humble.” 2018 needs the right kind of risk takers—like Mary. 2018 needs, regardless the size or shape—HOLY FAMILIES.
Hail Mary full of Grace!