“The Journey of Family”, By Lisa Valentino, Fiat Ventures

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

We have literally just celebrated Christmas and have witnessed the birth of Jesus once again into our hearts and lives. During the final days of Advent many of us “traveled” with the holy family on their journey to Bethlehem where the Christ Child was born. We have had an opportunity to reflect on the humble beginnings of our Savior and His entrance into our world. We have had the opportunity to reflect on his parents, Mary and Joseph and their new family. What joy in their hearts that holy night as they welcomed their Son. I am sure as well that there was some anxiety and worry over what their lives would now look like and the responsibility of being parents. All feelings that many new parents can relate to.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family and our Gospel today focuses on a journey that the Holy Family takes to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. We hear how Jesus becomes “lost” and Mary and Joseph cannot find him. He had stayed behind and had not told his parents. I can only imagine the fear that went through Mary and Joseph. Once for a few moments, I lost my own child at a busy NJ boardwalk one summer, and what was literally a minute or two seemed like forever. By the grace of God as she wandered off, another family saw her and brought her back to me.

In our family life, we are all on a journey together. The journey is filled with difficult times and times of joy, scary moments and moments of blessings, fears, tears and laughter. There will also be times of great love and times where forgiveness is necessary. The Holy Family was no different and experienced all of these feelings and moments as well on their journey.

Just like the Holy Family, our families travel a “road” together. The road is much easier to travel when we all work together and make our faith the center of our lives. How wonderful if we can make the time to pray together, even if it is a blessing before a meal. How beautiful to make the time to attend Mass together as a family. I encourage you to invite your family to do this if you don’t. We must learn to forgive one another and love even when it is most difficult.

One of the things I have always done with my own children is to bless them each night by signing the cross on their foreheads and praying with them before bedtime. There are things each of us can do to make Jesus an important part of our families journey. Remember, God may be asking you to be the one to start that discussion and practice in your family.

As we enter the New Year and reflect on Jesus, Mary and Joseph remember their yes and that they too struggled on their journeys as we often do. Family is not always easy, and ours of course aren’t perfect. That’s alright, they are not meant to be. May we take heart and encourage those around us to travel the journey together with hope and faith because we are children of God and may the Holy Family inspire us as we take the journey together.

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