Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The life of this family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph has much to teach us. Perhaps, the 30 “hidden years” of Jesus life in the home at Nazareth is his greatest teaching. What do these hidden years in the life of Christ, in the life of the home of the Holy Family tell us?
First, it tells us clearly that God is close! Think of it; Jesus spent the majority of his life on earth in the life of a family! It is here, in the family, that Jesus learned the Scriptures, learned the faith, learned the basics for human life; self discipline, self mastery, self gift! It is in this home at Nazareth that the beauty of human dignity as well as the dignity and sanctity of family life is revealed.
Jesus, Son of God, was raised by a Mother and Father, a man and a woman. In this family forum Jesus learned about human love which is accompanied and fulfilled in Divine Love. It calls to mind the words of Genesis: God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27) This “male and female” image are necessary to a proper and full human formation.
The dignity and sanctity of human life and love is mirrored in the love of man and woman, husband and wife. This life and love finds its fullness in our love for God, and embracing God’s love for us. Conjugal love and procreation are not merely a biological act …it is the presence and participation of God in this love which creates IN HIS IMAGE. (Evangelium Vitae #43)
It is in this giving of ones self fully in love to another that the love of husband and wife participates in the love of God, and God’s creative love enters into the human experience, and the home of the family.
When this creative love of God is shared and received, new life is formed. This new life generated by the love of husband and wife takes on a dignity and sanctity all its own. From the moment new life is conceived, a human lifeis begun which is neither that of the father or the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his (or her) own identity, growth and dignity. (EV #60) cf Ps 139:1, 13-16 – Jer 1:4-5 – Ps 71:6 – Is 46:3 – Job 10:8-12 – Ps 22:10-11
The human person, the human family, is at the heart of society. This dignity is rooted in its relationship to God. It is no different for our times. For the good of our society, we must help people discover their full potential and dignity. To do so, one must look no further than his own heart, where the natural law of God is written. See Jeremiah 31:33…I shall write my law upon your hearts. To build up our human society, we cannot ignore that there are moral imperatives the human person is called to discover and live; moral imperatives which do not limit a person’s potential or freedom, but rather unleash them. To think and act as if the human society can live without moral guidelines is immature and unrealistic, and puts us on a path that will never allow us to achieve a just and cohesive society.
I know these are difficult realities and truths to preach in our present public and political forums…but preach them we will. The good of the human person, and the good of society itself demands such preaching, such understanding, such Truth.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for us.