I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas. I thank all who worked so diligently in the many ministries that helped us experience the spiritual richness of Advent and Christmas. May God bless you for your generosity!
When I read the Gospel about the finding of Jesus in the temple, I can’t help thinking of the many parents who have spoken with me, confused and frustrated because they wanted their teenaged children to grow into independence, but no one had given them a guidebook on how to navigate the process. And then, of course, there are the teenagers who also don’t have a guidebook but want to be independent more quickly than their parents want to let go! A very natural developmental stage in a family, and we see it on display in this Gospel: Jesus is surprised that they were so worried about him (after all, he was in the temple, a holy and safe place); and Mary can’t understand how he could not realize how panicked they would be by his absence. But, in the end, Jesus went with them and “was obedient to them.” The result? He “advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” It was 18 years before he emerged again to begin his ministry, and his time in the Holy Family helped him have the wisdom and maturity and favor to do His Father’s will.
One takeaway from this is that we all need help to “advance in wisdom and age and favor before God and people.” It starts in the family and that is why the Church works to build and preserve strong families in which good example is given. It is also why our faith community is so important. Hopefully, our parish family is encouraging us to grow, supporting us in our challenges, and helping us in our needs. That is why it is so important that we all participate in our parish family, both by sharing our needs and accepting the help offered, as well as by sharing our time and talent to be of support to others.
As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, let us pray for our families, that they may be strong so our children can grow in wisdom and favor before God and people; and for our parish family, that we may grow in our ability to support all our members as we grow in faith and love.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us!
My prayers and best wishes for a blessed and healthy 2019!
-- Paul James Portland, SDS