The Holy Family: A Model For Christian Families
There is no institution that can compare to that of family. It is the bedrock of human existence and civilization. God continues the work of procreation and love through family. The birth of Jesus Christ draws our attention to the nobility and divine character of family. We all came from a family, and family mirrors the Trinitarian nature of God, who reveals himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Today we celebrate the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, through whom salvation of the world was made possible. They serve as a model for all Christian families. Our scripture readings today present to us their fidelity to God and willingness to be used by God. Right after the birth of Jesus, the young family went to the temple to offer the prescribed ritual sacrifice. They meet two special people, Simeon and Anna, who reassure them that God is with them as they try to understand their new role as parents of the divine Son.
We are given a glimpse of the fate of this newborn baby. “This child is destined to be the downfall and rise of many in Israel.” Now we ponder what this means. We know that the child Jesus is God’s love made flesh for our salvation. His love draws a line of division between good and evil. His message will demand from us acceptance or rejection. He will reveal true love; no one can remain indifferent. The world is forever changed.
We can see that family is so essential in God’s plan of creation. It started with Adam and Eve. They lost God’s grace and, as a result, sin and death came into the world. This new family of Joseph and Mary, through obedience to God, brings to the world grace and life. Without the family there would have been no baby and no fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption. Unfortunately, the institution of family has come under severe attack and assault from all corners, including the abuse of some aspects of modern science and technology. Some governmental policies across the globe have denigrated family. It seems to me that never in the history of humanity has the institution of family been as desecrated as is happening in our time.
Moral evils like abortion, euthanasia, and violent acts from various civil and religious bodies have reached epic proportions. Our society seems to take pleasure in destroying human life, marriage, and family. Today’s social problems cannot be simply laid at the feet of government. Although governments are supposed to support family values, they don’t construct them. Rather, religion has a greater responsibility for building a solid family life. Looking around us we see so many broken homes, child abuse, parental addictions, and children raising children. And the list goes on.
We all have a part to play in building a good family and home. When a family suffers all families suffer. When the family is destroyed, so goes the nation. God gave us family to have neighbors and live in community. Today’s feast reminds us that God gave us family and through family brought redemption. Through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, we became a family of God.
Therefore, an attack on family is also an attack on God. We pray that our own attitude and outlook will remain faithful to the example given by Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Grace and peace to you,
Rev. Vitalis Anyanike