The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
The Holy Family and our families
My Christmas message this year is addressed especially to families. At the end of the year particularly dedicated to them, our thoughts return to the mystery of the Holy Family… Jesus prays to the heavenly Father that all may be one. This prayer came to his lips on the eve of his Passion, but from his birth he already bore it within him: “Father, grant that they may be one as we are one” (Jn 17,11). Was he not also praying at that very moment for the unity of human families? True, he was praying in the first place for the unity of the Church; but, sustained by a particular sacrament, the family is a vital cell of the Church and even, according to the teaching of the Fathers, a little domestic Church. Jesus, therefore, prayed from his coming into the world that those who believe in him would express their communion from the profound unity of their families, a unity which, besides, was part of God’s design “from the beginning” (Mt 19,4) with regard to the conjugal love at the family’s origin… He who made a “free gift of himself” when he came into the world prayed that all people, when they establish a family, should make a reciprocal and disinterested gift of themselves: husbands and wives, parents and children, and every generation of which the family is composed, each contributing its own proper gift. May the family, so closely united to the mystery we contemplate on the day of the Lord’s birth, guide all the families on earth with its example!... Son of God, come amongst us amidst the warmth of one family, grant that all families may grow in love and contribute to the wellbeing of all humanity… Teach them for this reason to renounce egoism, deceit, the unbridled desire for personal gain. Help them to develop the immense resources of heart and mind which grow greater when it is you who inspire them.
Saint John-Paul II