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The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

December 26, 2019

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

December 29, 2019

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

Psalm 128

Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians 3:12-21

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

Recently I preached at Holy Mass how many of us, including myself, rely upon what is commonly called “to-do-lists.”  These are the notes we leave ourselves in order not forget, well, something we have to do.  In many cases our lists grow longer and longer and the things we try to remind ourselves to do never get done; they simply are placed on the back burner.  At this point, the to-do-list becomes our “excuse list.”  This is when we find an excuse not to do something that should be done. 

Advent has come and gone, Christmas Day is past, and we are getting ready to bring in the New Year.  I can’t wait for the New Year and find more excuses not to do stuff.  Life is busy to say the least.  Family duties, work, leisure time and so many other things prevent us from many of our obligations as Catholic Christians.  Attendance at Holy Mass (especially as a family) is only one part of the obligations of which I speak. The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist are part of our obligations as well.   The obligations we have as Catholics should be at the top of the “I will do lists.”

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family.  It is about remembering how Jesus grew up in the normal busyness of family life, and how he was shaped as a person by both Mary and Joseph.  So, what then is “family?”  In 2013 Pope Francis wrote that the family is, “Where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another.”  That very belonging to each other is what today’s readings are all about.

Our first reading from Sirach suggests that parents and children are to love and honor each other.  In St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he offers all of us the tools we need to care for each other.  I suspect that Paul was intimately connected with his family as he notes other important family skills like “bearing with one another.”  Finally, in Matthew’s Gospel is the story of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt in fear of Herod, who was searching for Jesus.  Despite the stress of their situation, I picture them as holding onto each other even more closely

I believe that the human reaction to our lot in life is to gather our loved ones together and hold onto each other for love and support.  Pope Francis continues. “We remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to ‘bear one another’s burdens.’”

Yes, we live in a fast-paced cyber world and we are certainly busy.  Being part of a family means being faithful to our everyday lives, to loving each other on our best and worst days, and to remembering the sacredness of even that pile of dirty socks stuffed under our children’s beds.  Giving yourself fully to God is the first step.

Sisters and brothers, it can all begin when you receive the Holy Eucharist at Mass and when you return home, to your Domestic Church.  Think about it, better yet pray about getting involved in parish ministry or other community service.  Parents and grandparents can set an incredible example for the young ones as they volunteer to become lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, or ushers during Mass, or, as I mentioned earlier, asking about other ministries to get involved in.  Let’s get rid of our excuse list and complete our to-do-list.  Make this part of your New Year’s resolution…and kids, you can start by placing your dirty socks in the hamper.

Question of the Day:  Are you willing to give your family fully to God?

Prayer:  Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family one with you.  Help us to be instruments of peace.  Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier that all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you.  Amen (Missionaries of the Holy Family) 


Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

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