Today is the Feast of the Holy Family.
Family is one of the messiest things I have ever encountered...EVER.
That is why I shutter when I hear someone describe their church as "family" Because, often times what they mean is 180 degrees opposite of what the reality is. They simply mean Norman Rockwell, perfect gathering photo op....
That's not what I am talking about...
Family is the only reality I have of interaction with others. It is the very foundation of where I spring forth to enter into every and any relationship. Even my relationship with God. Family is so ingrained in the fabric of our soul that even when one is born without a family then something/or some institution/ or someother 'become' his family.
Family is, well...Family.
And it is messy.
Every broken piece of humanity is found in family.
And we have to keep on living in it...even if we choose not to---there really is no choice because even when a person chooses to absent and vacate---well it is still FROM the FAMILY. They are defined by their absence from a relationship with their 'family'.
And back to the Holy Family. Think about it for a moment....I'm choosing to forego the family tree of murders and adulterers (of which David got both titles in one fell swoop), liars, cheats, and swindlers....let's just talk about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus--the Holy Family.
Mary was young, unwed but already chosen by God as an Immaculate Vessel.
Joseph betrothed (and we have no real idea how all that went down), had dreams and now his bride to be was pregnant with God's Son.
Still they married.
And now on the road---pregnant and giving birth in a cave among animals and feed and dare I say fecal matter? The very birth is poverty exponentially exploded.
Young couple--no bridal or baby showers.
Soon after--the Presentation, the prophecies of Simeon and Anna with swords piercing Mary's heart and Joseph... Now on the run because of Herod's pride and ego and murderous ways...They had a murder squad stalking them! (Did I mention they didn't have a bridal or baby shower?)
So they flee....young mom, faithful celibate husband, and infant God.
Really? We get bent out of shape over what in our family? Yes there are awful things, members cease talking, anger, hurt, pain, threats, misunderstandings, seem to at times outweigh any good memories or the hope of a future many times for many families. Members move away and forget and maybe they need to forget...that isn't the point...
The point is about Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
Who the shepherds found together
Who the kings found together
Who were at Joseph's death together
Who were at the Cross of Jesus together
We never here of the Holy Family having a birthday party, or a night on the town, or a family vacation, or the giggles and smiles and happy times that society tries to sell us---
No, we hear always of the Holy Family together cooperating with God's Will They were found together in the midst of difficult and trying times.
So what makes a family holy?