Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family as we always do the Sunday after the Nativity of the Lord. In the Sunday liturgical calendar for this year we are in year “B” and hence for the Feast of the Holy Family we read from the Book of Genesis chapters 15:1-6 and 21:1-3.
In this part of Genesis we see Abram at a crossroads in his spiritual journey of faith with God. Abram is clinging to the Lord’s promise of many descendants (13:16) and a land inheritance (12:7; 13:14-15), but he is forced to deal with infertility and his faith is being tested. Abram has been slowly building a relationship with God and his growing trust is becoming evident. He obeys the voice of the Lord (12:1), builds altars in honor of the Lord (12:7; 13:18), calls on the Lord in prayer (12:8), and swears an oath in the name of the Lord (14:22-23). Since God called him, Abram’s life has become a journey of faith. We see his faith in God was credited to him as an act of righteousness.
In the 2nd Reading in the Letter to the Hebrews chapter 11, we are reminded of Abram’s promise to God and God’s testing his faith when he was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac. We are once again being reminded of Abram’s faith and obedience. In these trying times and the many attacks on the family-are we clinging to our faith in God or politicians and judges?
The Gospel of St. Luke 2:22-40 shows the circumcision of the Lord as required by the Law of Moses on the 8th day. It shows the obedience and faith of Mary and Joseph to God hence remembering God’ covenant.
We too have been given the gift of faith and if we have the faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains. However, sometimes we may want to see the mountains move now! We may be tempted to discouragement we don’t see practical results of our faith and trust in God and our prayer life. Sometimes we are tempted to give up-we have thousands of saints in our Church history as wonderful examples of perseverance in faith during times of trial and suffering.
We are currently undergoing the most unprecedented attack against the dignity of the true family unit in our society. We are seemingly “getting it” from the media, same-gender union lobbyists, politicians, and judges on a federal and state level, academia and even misguided children of God within the Church. Maybe you have asked yourself: “what planet do I live on?” I have often asked myself this question from time to time.
I have even looked up to heaven and used the words of the actor Rex Harrison playing Pope Julius II in the movie “Agony and the Ecstasy” speaking to Charlton Heston playing Michelangelo while he was taking so much time painting the masterpiece Sistine Chapel, “when will you make it end.” Michelangelo would disrespectfully answer, “when I’m finished.” I have often reflected on these words, “when I’m finished.” God isn’t finished with the culture and the family. Without these current assaults on the family, there wouldn’t be so much beautiful catechesis coming out on the dignity of the family, real masculinity and femininity.
Pope St. John Paul II’s masterpiece “Theology of the Body” is a must learn, not “must read,” but must learn for all Christians: Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants alike. We must learn before we can teach with truth, clarity, boldness and charity, otherwise we scold and condemn rather than teach and heal. It must have looked bleak for Karol Wojtyla during the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II and the communist occupation, which was even longer and in some ways worst. It was through his suffering that God bore much fruit in his 27-year pontificate.
The Holy Family suffered for the truth and so will we. So, let us not give in to the demons of discouragement, skepticism, cynicism and doubt. Let us cast them out in the Name of Jesus Christ. Let us not ask “when will You make it end,” but rather ask, “what can I do dear Lord to help teach Your children the Truth of Your love for them and teach them who they truly are and the blessedness of the family of mother, father and children.” What can I do to help heal them and rebuke the evil confusing our society? He with us always ready to help us with His Divine Grace, all we need to do is ask for it. Let us remember the faith of Abraham, St. Joseph, Mary and Pope St. John Paul II. It is faith in the transforming and healing power of the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
by Fr. Tom DeSimone