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A Holy Family is R.E.A.L.

Clergy Corner by Deacon Ivan Hawk for December 27, 2015

A Holy Family Is R.E.A.L.

When we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, we often put them up on such a high pedestal they seem to be a model of something that we are not able to attain. In fact, they were a real family. We can be just like them. How can our families become REAL and Holy?

To be REAL, we are called to Respect, Encourage, Affirm and Love each other. The Wisdom of Sirach, reminds us that families will be blessed if we honor our mother and father and take care of them in their old age. Parents are called to love and guide their children through their formative years so they can become all that God has planned for them to be. The whole family then becomes REAL and Holy as they work out the practical matters of life that come their way. They grow together.

St. Paul tells us in Colossians that we are to be filled with compassion,  kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. In addition, we are to forgive each other at all times.

In the three-year cycle of our lectionary, we see the Holy Family experiencing all that we experience. They are a REAL family.

Cycle A — Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt from Herod to keep baby Jesus safe. When I read this Gospel, it takes me back to when my youngest  daughter was in a bad car accident. She was flown by helicopter to the local hospital. I spent a lot of time in the chapel with my wife praying for her  recovery.

Cycle B — In this Gospel we see Simeon and Anna offering a perspective about Jesus that Mary and Joseph did not see. We also find that others are involved in helping us raise our children. That might be grandparents or other caring people that God has brought into our lives.

Cycle C — In this weeks Gospel, Jesus is lost in the temple. Both Joseph and Mary thought He was with the other. It took several days to find out that this wasn't so. Can you imagine the panic in returning to Jerusalem, a city that was filled with 250,000 people, and trying to find Him among them?

Back to my youngest daughter. We lost her in a very large mall in Chicago when she was very young. My wife and I both thought that she was with the other. I ran through the mall as fast as I could, carrying a step ladder that I had just purchased. I found her standing in the middle of a crowd with a look of--"I knew you would find me!"

The Holy Family is REAL! They are within reach as role models for our families to be REAL and holy as well.

Tags: Clergy Corner, Deacon Ivan

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