Today was the Feast of the Holy Family. Well, if you are a regular mass-attending Roman Catholic this wasn’t news to you. The Sunday between Christmas and Epiphany is designated as a celebration of the Holy Family and all families. The readings and the lessons today at mass all focused on the family. The role of father and mother and the relationship to children. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were a special and different family for sure. You might say the original blended family. The gospel today was about when Mary and Joseph were unable to find the young boy Jesus, who went missing for three days. They found him, of course, and he had been at his Father’s house. In his homily Father Kevin talked a great deal about what it means to be a family. There is no such thing as a perfect family. Even the Holy Family wasn’t perfect (think about it- a child born out of the wedded relationship, a step-father, an independent child who listened to his own voice). As families we disagree and argue, find fault with one another, and are most harsh with those we love. Why? Because we can be. We know that family will always be there, they have to. They are always there, and sometimes we need to take some time apart to be sure we can always love one another fully.
This idea of time apart might seem real appealing to many families right now. Following the holiday season and a week likely full of meals, visits, and parties with close and extended family you might be thinking of a little solitude. That’s fine. Hopefully your holiday was enriched and made better by the time together. But after a little solitude when will you see your family next? Will it not be until the holidays in 2013. Maybe there’s a special anniversary or wedding planned this year. Perhaps there will be an unexpected illness or funeral to bring family together. Beyond these types of instances will you be with family this year? Do you have plans to share, gather, and enjoy one another’s company? Over and over, the time spent with family and friends is named as the best part of the holiday season. Why do we not have that same joy throughout the year? As we wrap up 2012 and lay out our plans and goals for 2013 let’s all try to make family a greater part of what we do for the new year. Challenge yourself and your family to find ways to connect more regularly. Think of ways to bring people together, just to be together. Reach out to family who may have grown distant in recent, or not so recent, years. Share the stories, traditions, and history of the family with younger members. Really try to be a holy family all your own! J, M, J.