"He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them."

12-26-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel of St. Luke presents for our reflection the story of the finding of the child Jesus (at that time, 12-years old) among Jewish teachers in the Temple after missing for three days. We are offered the example of the foster fatherhood of Joseph, the silent protector and responsible provider of the family and faithful husband of Mary. We see the loving, generous and caring motherhood of Mary, the trusting wife of Joseph. The young are in a special way presented with the exemplary obedience of Jesus who returned with His parents to their home in Nazareth where He (although Divine) lived under their human authority.

The family is the Domestic Church, the nucleus of society, where lives are fashioned and character is formed. The family is often the seedbed from which faith is nurtured even before the mysteries of God’s Kingdom are fully made open to the faithful. This is typified in the Gospel where Mary and Joseph made their annual pilgrimage for the Jewish festival of Passover, a pilgrimage to which they took along their Divine Son, Jesus. By doing so, Jesus’ parents dutifully introduced him to Jewish religion and customs. He would, throughout the rest of His earthly life, adhere faithfully to the tenets of Jewish faith and religion. The Church invites parents to derive inspiration from the Holy Family and allow God to use the beautiful and essential settings of family life to open up their children to His love, help them attain moral rectitude and have their consciences properly formed.

Unfortunately, more than ever before, our milieu has seen a sustained and vicious attack in many forms on the beautiful and absolutely essential institution of family and we are bearing the consequences of our neglect, and sometimes outright rejection, of the indispensability of family to society. The liturgy today invites us to correct this anomaly and instead commit ourselves to the much needed revival of family life.

May St. Joseph obtain for all fathers and men the virtues of faithful responsibility and sacrificial love towards their families. May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for all women so they can care and share in love. May all parents joyfully embrace the Christian duty of introducing their children to God’s love, in spite of contemporary difficulties. May our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten our hearts so we can prioritize Divine law and the promptings of good and informed conscience over human considerations, and may He bless all families with uncompromising faith, Christian charity and peace.

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Fr. Manasseh

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