Luke 2:41-52 The Holy Family
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it…His mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
When you’re a kid, you can’t wait to grow up. I was the youngest in my family and I had to serve just about everyone. I couldn’t wait to grew up and have some time for me, myself and I (that’s another type of “holy” trinity).
Yes, when you’re young, you can’t wait to get your license and own a car. You can’t wait to go off to college. You can’t wait to get a job and get married. You can’t wait to live your life for yourself!
But when the day comes and you get your driver’s license, you almost wish you never had it. Everyone begins to ask you for a ride or a favor! It turns out you’re not going anywhere you want to go but rather where everyone needs to go. And when you go off to college, you'll still have to serve others, mostly your teachers and coaches.
Then, when you finally graduate from college, chances are you’ll have to work the very next day. Gee Whiz! From there it only gets worse! You get married, and before you know it, you have kids. One, then two, then three.
And right when you think you’ve finally earned some quiet time for yourself, it’s actually time to take care of your parents.
There’s a lot of wisdom in Peter Pan. But like in so many messages in fairy-tales, most kids don’t get them.
Looking back, what I regret most is that I never took the time to take a good look to see what exactly adults do, and how often they do it. If I had, I don’t think I would have wished so hard to grow up so soon. It’s true. We all wanted to be adults by the time we reached the age of twelve. But did we know what we were asking for? Did we realize at the time what that would mean; that it would mean more serving, and serving nearly all the time???
I don’t know about you, but it caught me by surprise!
What is it about the Holy Family that makes them so unique and so appealing in our world today? Is it their love for each other? Maybe. But what I think it is is how they remained committed to each other. The family is only as strong as the weakest member. Joseph was a faithful man and husband. Mary was a faithful woman and wife. They served God and one another. They lived for each other. They lived for their family. How did they get like that? Well, to do that requires faith, hope and love. To be able to get there requires prayer and God’s grace.
A year ago, I spoke to two young husbands and fathers. Both men were struggling with their marriage. I encouraged both of them to attend Mass on a weekly basis. One listened and has remained committed to his wife and family. The other didn’t and just recently left his wife and family for another woman.
Prayer and Mass are not for the weak. Prayer and Mass are for those who wish to commit themselves to something greater than themselves. We all need to pray and attend Mass. We all need to hear the word of God and heed his message. If not, then all hell breaks loose, and not just for ourselves, but for our family as well.
People grow up just itching to get out. Jesus, Mary and Joseph grew up just itching to serve God. In the end, that may be the only difference between holiness and wastefulness; between growing up and remaining an eternal infant. Maybe that’s the secret to happiness as well: that is, when what I must do corresponds to what I want to do.
Now if we can learn to do that, then our family will be happy and holy as well!!!