Message from Fr. Mike
THE HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH
Merry Christmas! Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas, the Birth of Jesus. We have been preparing for this celebration since November 28, the First Sunday of Advent. We are now in the Christmas Season.
In our Christmas stories, we constantly hear three names: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. This weekend, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family where we take a closer look at the relationship between the three of them. Jesus launched the Redemption of the world from the heart of a family. The first thing that Jesus sanctified with His presence was a home. Joseph, as head of the family, supported Mary and Jesus with his work. It was he who received the message as to what name he must give the Child. When the life of the child, Jesus, and His mother, Mary, was in danger, he protected them by taking them to Egypt.
From Mary, Jesus learned certain phrases and popular expressions that were full of wisdom which He was later to use in His preaching. Many of Jesus’ stories, parables, etc. were drawn from family life. He must have seen Mary prepare dough for bread or lose a coin; everyday things that appeared in His teachings. Mary, like millions of mothers, spent every day of her life participating in the formation of her Son. By answering His everyday questions, she passed on the cultural and religious values of the family and of the society to her Son.
Jesus, on His part, was obedient to Joseph and Mary, and, at the same time, attentive to His vocation. He was always discerning the will of God the Father. The family is the simplest and most basic form of society and the church. That is why it is called the domestic church. It is the main school of all the social virtues. It is the seedbed of social life. It is in the family that we learn to practice obedience, concern for others, a sense of responsibility, understanding and mutual help, prayer, and the loving co-ordination of essentially different characters. It was my grandmother and my mother who taught me how to pray the rosary. Indeed, it has been proven that the health of a society is measured by the health of its families. Like you, I am spending this year’s Feast of the Holy Family with my brothers and their families to experience again the joy and tension of family life. I will be participating in different traditional ceremonies including celebrating the one-year anniversary of the death of my uncle.
The Pandemic has taken its toll on families. Where there was a crack, it widened, and it made it a valley. Some families could not survive the jolt, they separated, and some, unfortunately, ended in divorce. My prayers are with families. May this celebration bring healing to our families, strengthen understanding, and rekindle love and respect.
May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, pray for all homes. Amen
Fr. Michael Ume
Fr. Mike’s 2021 Trip Home Journal: