"Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"(Lk. 2:41-52)
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Historically, the Church always venerated the Holy Family through art and other media. However, Pope Benedict XV, in 1921, made the Holy Family a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church. The celebration initially came after the Feast of the Epiphany, on January 6th.
Later, in 1969 the Holy Family celebration date moved to the Christmas Season. Pope Benedict XV and other Popes promoted this wonderful celebration because they sensed the erosion of the family unit in the world. Unfortunately, 100 years later, when we look at our families, we see more and more deterioration through multiple layers of challenges. For this reason, these words by Jesus are interesting: "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
Jesus' words indicate that Mary and Joseph should have known that He needed to be in His Father's house. In retrospect, our Church leaders were correct in making the celebration of the Holy Family a great spiritual practice for us today. Look at some of the challenges that our families are facing today. Some children grow up with no parental guidance. Some men and women have multiple children from multiple partners, and the steady increase of the absence of the family unit in the Church is rising. Grandparents are now raising their grandchildren.
For this reason, since the Church teaches us to focus on the Holy Family, I believe that what is essential in our gospel is that whatever our family unit consists of, we need to get up and go to the Father's house. Remember, the Holy Family unit had challenges as well. Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. I am sure he faced stiff opposition from the neighborhood boys when deciding to take Mary as his wife. And Mary had an unexplainable pregnancy testifying that she did not know a man. History shows that there has never been a perfect family unit during biblical days. So if you are a single parent with a child, get up and go to your Father's house. If your spouse wants to stay home with the T.V. remote, get the children and go to your Father's House. Do you not know that you and your family must be in God's house?
The musical icon, Richard Smallwood, said the following, "Come over here where the Table is spread. And the feast of the Lord is going on. There's joy over here where the Table is spread / And the fest of the Lord is going on There's peace over here where the Table is spread And the fest of the Lord is going on."
Our Table is spread. In our Church, there is healing for your sorrow. There is healing for your pain. At the Table, Jesus wants to nourish the family no matter what makes up the family unit. Just come. The Table is set; we have mercy and grace to make us a Holy Family. We all must be in our Father's house.
Celebrate Today's Kwanzaa Principle Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.