27 December 2020 – Sunday in the Octave of Christmas: Holy Family – B
Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF
Claretian Publications, Macau
Mary and Joseph were two humble parents bringing their little firstborn to present to God fulfilling the Jewish law. This little family has already weathered out many storms in their lives. There was a divorce attempt even before the marriage took place, because of a misunderstanding. They had to undertake a long tedious and risky journey when the mother was full term pregnant. The husband’s teary eyes had embarrassment to meet the eyes of his wife for not being able to give a decent place for her to give birth to the firstborn. Their lives were beset with hurdles to say the least. Then, there was an attempt to kill the infant and they had to flee. This is the picture of an all too familiar next-door family, right? Or a little more than a fare share of troubles, right?
How did they survive such storms in life? Nothing much is said about how they interacted between themselves. But, to the temple they are coming thankfully to present their child to God. They cherished the word made flesh in the family so much and found none of the troubles ever mattered enough to break them up. I think the clue is there, that they lived to nurse the Word of God made flesh in their lives.
The Holy Family became holy not because they had no problems but rather, both the husband and wife listened to God to sort out the problems. Mary even had a spiritual counseling from Elizabeth. Joseph was used to evaluating well all his decisions and seeking counsel from above. That is how he gets all his messages in dreams. This very ordinary looking family becomes holy because of their insistence on listening to God first. Holiness is a possibility opened to all families, mine, very specially!
Simeon’s prayer will move all hearts, as he is seeking to die in a sense of fulfillment. He can represent also all Christians now. His desire was only to have a glimpse of the Messiah and feels fulfilled. There is a deep spiritual mystery in his words. There are others who wanted a grace similar to his. The woman with hemorrhage wished only to touch on the fringes of his cloak. The centurion believed that he only wanted to hear just a word of Jesus and his servant would be healed. These are expressions of deep longing for the Messiah. About these moments, later Jesus would say, blessed are you who see what you see. Many before you wanted to see this and could not!
It is an important question to ponder, what brings fulfillment to my life. There are some wants that can be satiated by Grace only. If we replace that search with material pursuits, we will always remain insatiated and even keep craving for more than we can afford to.