Generation to generation, God is faithful, and continues to call His family to be a people of faith. So begins this Year of the Family …

On this Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary, we read in Sacred Scripture of God’s patience and faithfulness.

God promised Abraham his descendants would be numerous, and would inherit the land. God likewise promised King David that he would establish a firm kingdom through his heir.

Jospeh is the last of the line of Patriarchs, and in Jesus, the promises of God are fulfilled … 42 generations later from the time of Abraham!

God is indeed patient, loving, faithful. Through Jesus, God has established a lasting kingdom, the Kingdom of God!,

Each of us is a member of God’s family, and a loved member of God’s Kingdom.

We learn many things from St. Joseph, but perhaps today we can reflect upon his willingness to allow God to ‘interrupt’ his plans. Each of us knows the discouragement and disappointment of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. But, hopefully we also know the experience of God’s plan being far better than our own. My life certainly has its share of ‘surprises’ from God, which required letting go of my dreams, to embrace the broader vision and dream of God.

St. Joseph can help us cultivate the mind and heart of Jesus, so that we can think and live with the same heart and mind. It is also important to realize that the heart and mind of Jesus are one and the same as the heart and mind of the church.

The Year of the Family renews our dedication to growing in the heart and mind of Jesus, in the heart and mind of the Church.

Today marks the 8th anniversary of Pope Francis’ installation as the Universal Shepherd of the Church after his election as Pope. Today also marks the 5th anniversary of the promulgation of his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love. These are just two reasons he is calling for this Year to celebrate the family.

At the end of his Exhortation, Pope Francis offers a prayer in which we can find at least three areas of focus for this Year of the Family.

Families as places of communion and prayer:

No matter what your family looks like, this year is an opportunity to turn to God, as St. Joseph, seeking a closer union with God through Jesus Christ. In Christ, we find our relationship with God, and the possibility of living in communion with others in peace and love. Prayer as a family – especially going to Mass regularly together – is essential for strengthening family bonds of love, and the bonds of communion with others.

Families as authentic schools of the Gospel:

Families are the first place of formation in the Gospel. More than ever, we need our families to grow in love with Christ, and from there to grow in faith and knowledge of the Gospel. How often I pray that more of our people will think in communion with the Church – which is in communion with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Families as small domestic churches:

From the time of Jesus, faith has been nourished in personal relationships, often in small groups, none greater than the family in the home. May our families take advantage of the setting of their home to grow in faith, and recognize it is precisely in the home where the faith is nourished and handed down from generation to generation.

Dear friends, you are cherished and loved by God and this pastor of God’s people. May this Year of the Family be a blessing to us all – to the Church – and the entire family of God.

I hope you find grace and peace in the knowledge of Jesus Christ,

St. Joseph, Pray for us!