Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, Dec. 26, 2010
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
December 26, Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Cycle A Readings:
1) Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
2) Colossians 3:12-21
Gospel: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
The further I get in life, the more I understand the meaning of family in God's plan.
In celebrating the Holy Family, this weekend's readings show us the breadth and depth of the family communion: Bear with one another, love your wife, obey your parents, do not discourage your children, forgive each other, take care of your father when he's old, put on love.
The readings describe "your wife like a fruitful vine," and "children like olive plants around your table," and tell the story of Joseph's courage and sacrifice to protect his vulnerable wife and child.
My Uncle Bob placed his family at the center of his life. Their home was a model of mutual love and encouragement.
Eight years ago, his son Charles gave up a comfortable academic position in England to move back to Texas, because he and his wife wanted to live closer to their families.
"A lot of my colleagues couldn't understand it, but I never regretted it for a minute," Charles told me last week as he prepared for his father's funeral. "At the time, my mother was still with us and our daughters got to know their grandmother and grandfather very well."
Although Bob's own parents died when he was quite young, he became a rock of care and connection for his in-laws and his siblings -- and for all their children as well.
He put on love and treated all of us, along with his own sons and grandchildren, as olive plants around his table. He led our prayers when we gathered, and he showed us how to bear with one another.
A niece recalled a visit he made to her with "his express purpose to give me support and counsel during a rather grueling and challenging (emotional) recovery process."
In Bob's last years, his other son Tom and his family visited and helped care for him daily even as he struggled with Alzheimer's disease. Their devotion was no surprise.
Embracing each others' lives as our own -- in the highs and lows, caring, giving, forgiving, encouraging, and bearing with one another in love and in the name of the Lord Jesus -- is how the holy family gives meaning to life.
What family experiences do you recall that have strengthened you and taught you how to live in relationship with others? What dysfunctional families, or dysfunctions within your own family, presently need your attention?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body" (Colossians 3:15).
Copyright © 2009 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS Word To Life column may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service.