Dec 26 2012

Christmas reflection: Feast of The Holy Family

Father Mark LaneEvery Wednesday during the Christmas season, we will post a reflection. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey during this time.

This weekís reflection is offered by Father Mark Lane, CFCA preacher.

“And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14)

A child causing parents anxiety is nothing new, and Jesusí role in this highly developed narrative is no exception.

His rather pious answer would seem somewhat impertinent if we were dealing with a straightforward recounting of an historical fact.

In todayís Gospel for the Feast of The Holy Family, Luke narrates this story to point to Jesusí uniqueness and to give content to the otherwise gapping lacuna that is the so-called lost-years of Jesusí life: the 30-year period from infancy to the beginning of his public ministry.

As with many conversations, it is not only what is said that is informative ó silence is important. Jesus matured in the obscurity of those lost 30 years.

Often too, I believe, God is quietly and patiently forming us in the quiet and hidden corners of our own lives.

One of the hidden treasures of our lives is the slow fidelity to the rhythms of the everyday ó the turning up and doing our best.

Rhythms such as taking out the garbage, washing clothes, paying bills, putting food on the table or making time for exercise or prayer or rest.

All the stuff of life that no doubt occupied the domestic scene of the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

As a child, one of my favorite games was to get a big blanket and throw it over the kitchen table and create a little world of my own away from the busyness and noise of a large family.

I would hide under there and create my own world away from the drabness of the everyday.

Of course it would not last long and I would have to come out and face ìthe real worldî again.

CFCA sponsor, Clemencia Prieto

Clemencia Prieto, CFCA sponsor, meets her sponsored friend Daralin in Colombia.

But that little world under the blanket I think was a bit like prayer, or Advent or Lent or any other retreat: a time to step aside and allow life to germinate.

Todayís Gospel is a reminder that Jesus, too, would one day have to re-enter ìthe real worldî and go about ìhis Fatherís business.î The years Jesus spent in obscurity in the midst of the everyday of his family life prepared him for his brief and dramatic final days in an all-too-real world.

He was in a way putting fuel in the tank or money in the bank to call on as needed.

I like to think of the mundane activities of our life in a similar way. When I let another person speak, when I open the door for someone, when I am the first to ask forgiveness or apologize, when I practice charity and compassion ó all these are the silent and sometimes obscure ways I fill up my tank for the journey ahead.

When I get upset or angry, disappointed or hurt, resentful or envious, it is rarely the result of a single incident (though it may have been the immediate impetus).

My responses are usually born out of the entire pattern of my life.

For me, practical charity is one of the most direct and accessible ways to build this reserve for days of need. That is why I believe the call to sponsorship is as much about the benefits to the one sponsoring as the ones sponsored.

In a very real and practical way, pulling pennies out of my own pocket is an investment in my own well-being.

During his 30 years in obscurity, Jesus was building the reserve that would be spent down so dramatically, and in such a life-giving way, in the days ahead.

By fidelity to the everyday we are doing likewise.

Related links:
Awakening our hearts to love [1st Advent reflection]
‘For it is in giving that we receive’ [2nd Advent reflection]
‘God dwells within the human family’ [3rd Advent reflection]
Christmas on the practical, everyday level [4th Advent reflection]

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One thought on “Christmas reflection: Feast of The Holy Family”

  1. I love this reflection, and it is even more meaningful to me having had the opportunity to volunteer alongside Fr. Lane this year at a church here in Florida. I try (and fail) to make this point with my spouse, who gets so frustrated when traffic doesn’t move faster at the stoplight, when he seeks the perfect lane in traffic to shave seconds off of our drive time. In the long run, why pour energy and angst into a difference of a few seconds. Conversely, I feel it is a service to my fellow motorist to take a deep breath and eat the extra seconds. (Even though this attitude drives hubs and my newly minted teen driver nuts :-)).

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