This is a special time of year, perhaps the one time of the year we have the opportunity to gather with some friends and family. It can become a very hectic time as well, with the various celebrations and other expectations, it can seem as if there simply is not enough time in a day nor days in a week to get it all in. Although it is impossible to isolate ourselves from all the material aspects of Christmas, we can always reserve some time for God; not only on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, but each day throughout the Christmas season. The birth of Christ is such a monumental event in the life of the Church, we celebrate his birth for eight days. In addition to this, the Christmas season extends to the baptism of the Lord. Perhaps take in an extra weekday Mass or two, and listen to the various Christmas stories that are told. If schedules prevent this, consider taking 10 minutes or so each day to read these stories in the Gospels, and reflect on this truly awesome event, and how God may be seeking your presence through this personal encounter with the baby Jesus.
Each year we all experience so many blessings in our lives, and with reflection, even difficult times become grace filled events. Coming to Marshfield and Spencer has been and continues to be a time of special grace, serving the people of St John the Baptist and Christ the King. I would like to thank all those who sent cards, prayers and gifts this Christmas season. These are deeply appreciated. I held you up in a special way at my Christmas Mass in thanksgiving for such a wonderful community to serve.
May God flood your hearts with His presence and blessings during this Christmas season and into the New Year.
LIVING THE JOY OF THE HOLY FAMILY
The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the human family, as well as the ultimate family unit: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The feast, not a solemnity, is usually celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas. The Holy Family is the name given to the family of Jesus: The Divine Son of God, Jesus, his mother, the Virgin Mary, and his foster-father, Joseph. We know very little about the life of the Holy Family through the canonical Gospels, other than birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and the finding of Jesus in the temple.
Devotion to the Holy Family is a recent development, but one that naturally grows out of a love for Jesus and his family. Pope Emeritus Benedict promoted the feast as a way to counter the breakdown of the family, as this feast is not just about the Holy Family, but about our own families too. St. John Chrysostom urged all Christians to make each home a "family church," and in doing so, we sanctify the family unit.
Just how does one live out the Church in the family? The best way is by making Christ the center of family and individual life. Some ways to do this include: reading scripture regularly, praying daily, attending Mass at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, going to confession frequently, and so forth, all done together as a family. In short, it is about becoming holy ourselves, in imitation of the Holy Family, striving to become the family God intends for you, living with greater love and joy every day.
Happy New Year!