Dec 29 2019 Reflection
Sunday 29 December 2019
First Reading: SIR 3:2-6, 12-14
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Second Reading: COL 3:12-21
Gospel Reading: MT 2:13-15, 19-23
Today’s Note: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.
When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.
As the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. (Colossians 3:13)
If you could name just one quality that makes a family holy, what would it be? You might say love, or any of the other virtues that St. Paul lists in today’s second reading. And you may well be right. But what do you think keeps a family holy? What keeps them together for the long haul? Forgiveness.
Why? Because we are all fallen human beings. Even though we have Jesus living in us, we still commit sins. We are bound to hurt each other at times, even when we don’t intend to. That’s why forgiveness in a family is so important.
You might think that the only family that never needed to forgive one another was the Holy Family. After all, Mary was born without original sin, Joseph is a saint, and Jesus is the Son of God! But even without actually sinning against one another, there were still plenty of times when mercy and forbearance were necessary. Maybe Mary forgot to let the bread rise one morning, so they had to go without it that day. Perhaps the boy Jesus accidentally broke the water pitcher. Or maybe Joseph felt hurt because he misunderstood something Mary had said to him. Each of these “innocent” events could have led to resentment if it wasn’t dealt with right away.
The ability to forgive one another, even for the minor offenses that happen in daily life together, is the oil that makes family relationships run well. Saying “I’m sorry; will you forgive me?” and “I forgive you” should roll off our tongues as readily as the words “I love you.” Because without forgiveness, bitterness can grow and love can wither.
So make forgiveness a goal for your family for the coming year. Show your children and grandchildren how to forgive by modeling it yourself. It’s not a concession to say you’re sorry to another person; it’s a grace—one that the Holy Family will give you for the asking!
“Jesus, give me the humility to ask for forgiveness and the mercy to grant it.”