Marriage and the Holy Family
During Advent we actively prepare our hearts and homes with peace, decorations, song and love, for the joyful Feast of Christmas! It is also a time to recall that Jesus came to us through the faithful matrimony between Joseph and Mary. Joseph and Mary were chosen by God for the vocation of Marriage to bring forth Jesus the Messiah - Emmanuel (God with us). They were handpicked to nurture, protect, educate and love Jesus. In carrying out the Will of God, they had to endure a lot together – living with suspicion/gossip that Mary conceived outside of marriage, poverty, being separated while Mary went to help her cousin Elizabeth, leaving family, friends and home during the pregnancy to be counted in the census in Bethlehem. The Holy Family also endured threats of death (as Herod was to kill all innocent male children) and had to flee to Egypt where they became refugees for several years. Upon returning to Nazareth they lived quietly during Jesus’ youth until Jesus started on His Mission from The Father, which they accepted humbly. Thus, the Holy Family is our perfect model for family life because they were faithful to God until the end.
Just as the Holy Family constituted a trinity, with God (Jesus) as its core, so does the love between man and woman in a marriage where God is the center of the union. This trinity gives life and love to the offspring in the family and waters the seed of faith. Without God as the center, a marriage suffers.
For those who have experienced divorce, death of a spouse, being separated from family, and other hardships, we are also reminded that we belong to a greater family - God’s family. The Church is our home where we are all welcomed and loved by God, our Father and Mary, our spiritual mother.
This year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family on December 28. This feast originated in the 17th Century, instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 and was extended to the whole Roman Church by Pope Benedict XV in 1921. During this feast and the Christmas season, we also remember our parents for their love and sacrifice. We also pray for our Church family - all of our brothers and sisters in Christ and our priests who guide and shepherd the Family of God.
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