Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Catholic Defender: The Holy Family

We just celebrated the Christmas story, the shepherds tending their flocks in the fields, the angels proclaiming, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10).

Salvation has come to the world! This is marked in the happiness of a new born child.

The scripture tells us that Mary pondered these things in her heart. We too should ponder these things as we reflect the meaning of all this.

St. Joseph was a great provider with strong faith and trust in God. He gives a great example for all fathers. Joseph and Mary would first be Jesus protectors, then teachers. All the happiness of the past couple of days will be enjoined with the coming of the magi bearing gifts of Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

All this for a new born King! The small community in Bethlehem shares a calm before the storm. Jesus was born into the world humbling himself accepting humanity as a new born infant.

Thus the Word became flesh for the salvation of the world. Not long before this nativity scene display, there was no room for the Holy Family in the inn, if the Lord were to come to your house this day, would he find room in the inn?

Do we receive this Word into our hearts? If we do, then like Zaccheaus, "today, salvation has come to this house.."

Mary, is like every other mother who loves their children. She is the role model of motherhood. Whenever I see a statue or picture of May with the Christ Child, I reflect the great love between a mother and her child.

The Christmas song "Silent Night" makes this scene come alive for me. Every child should be loved like this.

St. Joseph is a great model in his role of fatherhood. His leadership, his love for Jesus and Mary.

God entrusted his Son to St.Joseph making him one of the world's greatest dad's! These first few joyous days will quickly change as danger is coming. Powerful forces seek to find the Christ child to kill him. Not only King Herod wants baby Jesus dead, so does the king of darkness.

Revelation 12:3 states, "Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on it's head were seven diadems".

This would appear very terrible for any family with a small child to overcome. However, when you have God's protection, all things are possible.

Jesus had to rely on the faithfulness of his parents as they are entrusted with the greatest mission the world will ever receive. Nobody ever did it any better than Joseph and Mary.

Events that we will celebrate in the next few days are the coming of the magi, and the presentation of Jesus into the Temple when he was eight days old.

From this scene we have the Prophecy of Simeon, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself (Mary) a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed".

"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the Temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2"36-38).

It would not be long however before the small community would be shaken as "Rachel will not be consoled".

"When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother, fless to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him'. Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, 'Out of Egypt I called my son".

We too, like Joseph, must act when tough times are coming. We must seek to do the Lord's will in all things and he will lead us to the Promised Land.

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