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Holy Family,First Sunday of Nativity,Dec.26,10

1st S. of Nativity,Dec.26(Holy Family)

This Sunday ,coming immediately after Christmas, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. The reading from the Gospel of Matthew that we heard just now places before us in a very few words all the troubles, challenges and hardships the young family faced at the outset.
Joseph, Mary and Jesus did not enjoy a comfortable environment at the beginning of their family life. They had to endure tremendous hardships just to be alive.
After all the marvelous happenings after the birth of Jesus-- the visit of the Magi, the greeting of the shepherds, the appearance of the angels to the shepherds-- things have not yet settled down for them for a happy family life. All of a sudden, Joseph was asked to leave Bethlehem for Egypt. We can only imagine the ordeal and hardships of the young family on their flight to Egypt. Leaving for a foreign country with no preparations, with no friends and with no money would definitely be very hazardous in those days. They had to make the decision right there and leave for Egypt. It is beyond our imagination even to guess how they did find help for the flight and the means for their livelihood in a strange land with no knowledge of the language of the country. Then, after a few years, they were asked to return to Palestine. They had to make the trip back again with no preparations.
What we find in them, hence, is the perfect submission to the will of God. No questions were asked and no doubts were raised. With faith in God and with love for one another, they knew they could overcome all kinds of obstacles in their lives.
What we find in Joseph and Mary is their perfect submission to the will of God, steadfastness or constancy in their faith, unconditional love and whole-hearted cooperation. We know that a family becomes successful spiritually and emotionally when these elements become the fabric of their lives.
A family is rich not because of the wealth it has nor because of the beautiful house in which it lives but because of the wealth in the hearts of its members—faith in God and love for each other.
If we are unwilling to yield or to compromise and if our selfishness or arrogance dominates our attitudes, the family ties break down. It is to the Word of God and to our faith that we have to return when we have problems in our families.

We find all around us marriages breaking down and ending in divorces. More than a million children grow up in broken families every year in our country. There are concerted and very fierce attempts on the part of many to destroy the very meaning of marriage.
Family is our greatest treasure and we have to preserve and nurture it through our love and sacrifice. As the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church of the Second Vatican Council states, “the family is the domestic church” and it is there the elements of Christian faith have to be learned and practiced. Parents, according to the Document, are “ the first heralds of faith with regard to their children.”

We often ignore to emphasize how important is faith in our life. We rarely speak about the role of faith in our lives and live according to the faith. Family discords and differences between the parents, violent arguments and domestic abuse all create an atmosphere that destroys the warmth and love that should exist in a Christian family.
This is the appropriate time for each one of us to ask ourselves how we can make a difference in our family life and make it better and richer How are the members of my family relating to one another How are the members of my family relating to one another and how strong is the place of the faith in our families?
May the Lord give us the grace to make our families the seedbeds of love and peace.

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