Feast of the Holy Family December 31, 2023

Father Rick’s Two-Minute Homily for Feast of the Holy Family
December 31, 2023, Luke 2:22-40

God Is With Us – Really

We hear in the Gospel that Mary and Joseph “fulfilled” all that the Lord required. They did everything pleasing to God. Notice what came next –
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
And the favor of God was upon him.

Every child offered to the Lord in baptism is given the same opportunity to become strong in the Lord and filled with his favor. They are children of God, a Father who is ready every moment to fill every son or daughter with every good gift.

Jesus wants us to know how involved God is in our life. He said, “Look at the birds in the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?

How does God take such good care of us every day? Through our family. God became one of us in Jesus so we can become like God in the way we are there for each other.

The divine help isn’t magical like a pearl dropped from heaven. The intention of mom and dad is everything. The child learns from Mom and Dad that God is with us in all the ordinary events of life.
I can see Jesus watching his mom get an old piece of cloth and sew it on a tear in His dad’s sleeve. Can you hear the child Jesus ask His mother, “Why are you sewing an old piece on the sleeve? Why not get a new one?

And Mary looked into her Son’s eyes and said, ”A new piece of cloth is too strong for the old fiber. It will tear away in time after much use.

“It’s like people. Whatever their behavior, good or bad to our liking, we must be gentle and kind. If we make them do something they are not ready to do, we will be like the new cloth on the old sleeve, forcing our will on them. Our mend will never last. They must grow at their own pace. Be patient, Son, with people.

Family is where we learn to live these valuable lessons, day in and day out.

Jesus used this image of the cloth in a parable. He probably had His disciples on His mind, and you and me, too. Jesus is a master at gentleness and enduring love for us.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Don’t let the word “Holy” distance you from Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Holiness is the foundation of all our family relationships. It is letting God have His way with us.

Families that seek to please the Lord have a contagious goodness in them. All the members seek to please each other. Imposing our will on other family members breaks down family ties, and people grow apart.

Even if that is happening, remember the love of God is in all of us to anticipate each other’s needs and to challenge each other to be great in the sight of God and others. The Lord never abandons His children.

Gospel Challenge:
Where is God challenging us to be kind and forgiving when someone messes up? And where is He challenging us to be caring and honest – ready to listen to the truth of who we are?

My friends, seek the virtues that make our words and actions lovable, filled with God. St. Paul taught this to the Corinthians, which is true for us. Who comes to mind as I read what God is like in us?

Love is patient; love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

In a word, love is holiness.

Remember, these virtues are the heart of Jesus. Grow close to Him as a family so you can be strong and grow with Jesus, filled with wisdom, and the favor of the Lord will be upon all of you.
Speak and act only from peace in your heart; Christ Jesus will be with you. Everyone will know it.

Love Your Neighbor:
Please join me in praying for all baptized Catholics to be faithful to Jesus in the Holy Mass every weekend. Hail Mary, full of grace…
Mother Mary, “I am yours now and forever. Through you and with you, I always want to belong completely to Jesus.” The Surrender Novena – InHeartland. https://inheartland.com/pages/the-surrender-novena

Peace be with you.

Fr. Rick Pilger, I.C.

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