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The Model

Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary & Joseph

My dear encountered couple:

When two young people get married they have great visions and plans for the future: A home together, children, two, three, maybe a whole house full, a family van, a vacation at the beach one summer, the mountains the next, Thanksgiving and Christmas with the in-laws and the out-laws. Of course, work and money must be discussed. No family can get along without a sufficient supply of cash coming in every week. We all have our own hopes and dreams; living them out with those we love, are what makes them glorious. I feel sure Joseph and Mary had their dreams, too. But did they work out as they expected?

Well, Joseph and Mary’s vision of the future did not go exactly as hoped. But they made the best of it and came out as the model family for all to imitate. Your family plans might not work out as you dream either. What is important is that all in your family live as the Holy Family, that is, seeking and doing God’s will as best you can, and ending up in heaven with the Family of God.

Family life isn’t easy, is it? Not long after the wedding married couples begin realizing that fact. Some adjust to the reality, some don’t. Today’s feast of the Holy Family is to place before our eyes a model and a source of encouragement. Joseph and Mary adjusted well to the changes in their plans; we all are to do our best to adjust to the changes in ours. Many married couples don’t.

Life – whether in a nuclear family or in a divorce situation – is not easy for anybody involved. And we are all involved in some sort of family. I used the familiar term, “nuclear family.” That means a “self-contained family unit which includes a mother and father and their children.”

We also use the word “nuclear” in regard to an explosive capability, don’t we? That should give us something to think about. Maybe all self-contained, that is, nuclear families also contain ingredients somewhere within them that can cause an explosion? We should be aware of that possibility. Is there any union on earth that cannot be destroyed by an explosion from within if those united are not constantly on their guard?

It takes a lot of spiritual courage, spiritual strength, and God’s type of love – unconditional love – to make any union work, and last, and grow. Joseph and Mary relied on God to make their marriage work. I doubt they could have made it on their own. We can be sure they prayed a lot. As we have heard so often, the family that prays together stays together. And that’s because all the members are well enough disposed to receive from God all the help they need to love one another in both good times and bad.

Joseph, Mary and Jesus became the model family for all of us because they did not seek their own individual, personal wills to be done, but because they lived for God and one another. They dedicated themselves to adjusting and readjusting, when necessary, to doing God’s will as well as they could. But most importantly, God was always at the very center of their hearts and their lives.

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