Still, the model family

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Today is the feast of the Holy Family, and we look to Joseph, Mary and Jesus as the model family to which all families in some way should hope to imitate. Especially in our day when there is so much confusion about “what is a family?” or “who belongs to a family” we need the Holy Family as an inspiration. In doing so, I would like to look especially at two elements of family life that all families can struggle to imitate: piety and detachment.

First, piety: the Holy Family is a prayerful family. That is, they really put their trust in God, not in politicians and programs, not the state of the economy and savings systems, not even in education (which for some reason has become such an obsession with so many families today). The Holy Family puts its full trust in God and his care of the past, present and future. If the Holy Family were to have a family shield, its motto would have to read “Be not afraid!” After all, they heard, pondered, and preached that message so many times!

Secondly, the Holy Family is responsibly detached from material goods. We don’t have the financial statements of the family of Joseph of Nazareth. He was a competent worker who probably justly received compensation for his work, but his family was far from wealthy. The quickness with which the Holy Family was able to change plans and travel for safety and security is very indicative of the relative importance (no pun intended) they placed on possessions. Who watched over Joseph’s house and shop while they were away for years in Egypt is a question I hope will be answered for me one day! Families today can and should  imitate this detachment. Not that we are not going have or enjoy good things (at this moment, I am preaching at Longlea retreat house that used to be one of the nicest mansions in Virginia), but those material goods have to be properly ordered to higher uses. Think and pray on these things during these holy days. Blessings to your family!

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