“You are called into one body. Bear with one another; forgive one another; let Christ’s peace control you.”
On this solemnity of The Holy family, although it is a most precious and heartwarming feast day, we are really focusing on a family in trouble—a family fleeing for their lives! What is heartwarming and so moving about this early episode in the life of the Savior is the powerful love that binds this family and is so eager to carry out God’s plan of Redemption. What is so sobering about this episode, as we head into 2014, is that like the Holy Family, so many families in the world are also in harms way and in danger of their being separated from each other physically or even by death. And, today, children find themselves growing up in descriptions of “family” under the same roof that depart (sometimes dramatically) from the traditional nuclear family—mom, dad, and children.
Can it be any wonder to us that our Holy Father, Francis, has turned the attention of the Church and its mission on earth to the pastoral care of families? We are all amazed at Pope Francis’ ability to be so personal and close to people on a global scale. Especially as one given the care of souls as a priest, I am so grateful for these latest efforts by the Holy Father to address the day-to-day experience of Christians in the modern world. The wording of the questions in the survey (see News Notes below) is impressively candid and personal. Pope Francis is relying on the Holy Spirit to guide—so should each of us. Lots to pray for!
Here at St. Rita I believe that we have a wonderful openness, compassion, and embrace of our families. I believe that increasing numbers of families, no matter their journey, feel welcome and at home at St. Rita. This is called Evangelization: attracting to Jesus Christ and his Church by the way we live our lives and by creating a safe place for families—a holy communion of faith, hope, and love.
The Holy Family we celebrate today had to place all of its trust in a loving God and to the care of those on earth they encountered on the long, circuitous route back to Nazareth. It is an account filled with images and episodes of God’s amazing grace. May that same amazing grace find its way into the households and homes of St. Rita’s Families this day and into the life and experience of all families around the world that seek His Way, His Truth, and His life, now and in the New Year!