Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Feast of the Holy Family

Bartolome Esteban Murillo c.1650
This beautiful painting is named "The Holy Family with a Little Bird." It reveals the tenderness of a mother, winding a skein of thread, watching her baby, who is the Christ, leaning on his father while playing with a little bird and dog. The painting exalts home life, family and work. It expresses the love between the members of a family.

Yesterday, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents,  I proclaimed the Gospel at the Missionary of Charity soup kitchen. The Gospel has some of the same verses as today, concerning Joseph and Mary taking the Christ-Child to Egypt, to escape Herod's death sentence. I explained to the men and women who were there waiting to eat - the importance of family - how it is the domestic Church - how marriage is a sacrament of peace - how loving families that stay together not only serve each other but all those around them. The family is an instrument of God's peace.

During Christmas week, in Irvington, NJ, three men were fatally shot and two were wounded outside of a night club. On the same day in Newark, a 13-year old girl and a 14-year old boy were shot dead. Newark has had at least 100 killings this year. Why? There are many reasons. The most important reason - the break down of the family unit - of family life - of family values - of family prayer. Today, let us pray for families - that they may mirror The Holy Family - thus bringing peace into our world.

O dear Jesus,We humbly implore You to grant Your special graces to all families.
May their homes be a shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith. Amen.

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