This week Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Luke 2: 22-40
When a first child is born to a woman and a man, they are automatically given the title of mother and father. The child’s simple arrival brings the authority to change how the world views this woman and man. Without doing anything other than arriving, Jesus did the same…and more. This arrival to working class parents, in a little known village, in a tiny outpost of the Roman Empire changed the world: No words were spoken, yet the word of God was understood clearly by some who were brought up in the first century Jewish tradition.
As a family, Mary and Joseph brought their child to the temple to be presented to God. Because they practiced the religious custom, and were people of deep prayer, Simeon was able to recognize the Messiah. He saw in their eight-day-old son the light for all the world and they were amazed at the words of the old priest. So, what did they do? They returned home as any family would do and continued to raise him to be a strong man.
The Holy Family is a model for all families. They believed their child was entrusted to them by God. They raised him faithfully in their religious tradition. Even though they learned he was destined for great things, the lived a simple, devout life. All families are called to do the same. The child has changed the parents’ status in the world without using words. What would happen if every family were to bring their children to Mass every week and hear how the world will be transformed through the youngsters? This message IS there every week. Like Simeon, there are people in the church, needing reassurance that Christ is alive and well through the families who gather for Eucharist. Just as the baby changes the essence of the family without using words, the family’s non-verbal actions of going to weekly Mass supports and strengthens the world.
–Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. served as Campus Minister at Saint Viator High School and is currently working in Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Maternity, B.V.M. Parish in Bourbonnais, Illinois.