That got me thinking about the Holy Family. I have to confess a mixture of envy based upon unreal assumptions for them. They didn’t really suffer much. They skated through the days with happy faces and cheerful hearts. They didn’t have to deal with the day in and day out pettiness of life. For goodness sake, Jesus was the Son of God, Mary was immaculately conceived, and Joseph was… a just man.
Even while looking at the readings for the feast day, especially the gospel, I find that I still wish to maintain this bit of unreality. I want them to be perfect and unsullied and above normal. I want them to live out the ideal every moment of every day.
What were they like? I have no idea. No one living on earth does either. But what if they were more like you and I than otherwise?
Here’s my best guess: They lived with loss and disappointment like every other family. Mom and dad probably had to put Jesus into “time out” now and again. Mary and Joseph had to cope with the fact that God had interrupted their plans and turned their lives upside down. They learned to forgive each other, even imperfectly. Mary’s heart was pierced by the sword of sorrow. I’d bet that that affected her moods!
Legend has it that Joseph died sometime in Jesus’ youth. Think he learned something about grief? And what was it like for Mary as a single mother with a precocious son?
I just wonder whether seeing the Holy Family as a very human family that did their best, learned to pray and forgive together, and make the world a bit better place for having been in it… I wonder if we might relate to them as friends and confidants and ‘prayer partners’.
However we look at them, may the love that inspired, upheld, surrounded, and blest the Holy Family lead us and guide us in 2012!
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