I remember the anticipation I felt as we drove to my grandparents’ home each New Year’s Eve. I so enjoyed the aroma of various meats, vegetables, dumplings and spices that filled the air as we arrived. Let’s face it though, as a young boy I also loved sneaking sweets just before dinner. I always thought I got away with it but I had fooled no one. My parents just watched, smiled and said nothing. They had wisely realized that these were childhood moments to be cherished, appreciated and even ‘hidden’ at times. Little did I know that in their actions I was also being taught how to treat others and deal with relationships. Over time, the education also grew and became more challenging but always provided greater insights.
Considering the impact my parents had in my life, I cannot help but wonder how Jesus, Mary and Joseph interacted with one another as a family. We honor them as role models and share our innermost thoughts with them. In many ways we feel we know this family quite well yet questions remain. For example, aside from Jesus’ early years and his time in the temple at age 12, little is known about him as a child, teenager or young adult. A single line in today’s Gospel reads, “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.” Reflecting on this verse however, I now realize this may not represent a gap or an open question at all. It could rather be an invitation for us to consider how Jesus grew up and learned the ways of the world by watching Mary and Joseph. It could provide us with our own opportunities within our own families.
We might define our family unit as traditional, nontraditional or communal yet we all are part of the one family of God. Armed with this truth and in celebration of today’s Feast of the Holy Family, I offer the following suggestions as we continue to hone our own ability to grow and participate more fully as active family members:
Happy New Year. Endless Blessings,
Deacon Luc Papillon