December 26, 2021
Luke 2: 41-52
The Sunday immediately following Christmas we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. The readings enlighten us as the focus on our relationships. God chose to send us his Son, Jesus, to model our closest set of relationships — our parents, siblings and others. Jesus became human to show us the way to love those who bore us and brought us to the persons we are today. We pray in thanksgiving and renew our commitments to live in right relationship with our families, friends, communities, and the entirety of all creation. Pope Francis encourages us to focus our hearts and actions on creating a world of greater inclusive and caring relationship.
Our current world is at a critical point. Humanity has brought our planet to the brink of existence. Like Mary and Joseph seeking the safety of their son, our task is to use all the amazing, abundant resources of our earth in ways that are much more sustainable.
Several years ago when I returned unannounced to my former parish on Holy Family Sunday, I was asked to proclaim the readings. As is the custom in Afro-American communities, the congregation enhances the experience by inserting “Amen” whenever statement strikes them as true. The men in the congregation chorused a spontaneous “Amen” following the statement. “Wives be subject to your husbands.” However the church was silent after hearing “Husbands, love your wives and avoid any bitterness toward them.” I paused and eventually said “Well, Church…” The congregation realized this directive to husbands was just as important as the one to the wives. A resounding “Amen” filled the Church. As their former co-pastor, I still delight in this family’s enthusiastic affirmation of recognizing their marital collaboration.
Today’s message from scripture begs us to recognize that we can be collaborators by being in right relationship to more than those close to us. Right relationship includes opening our country to people seeking asylum from violence, from oppression, from famine and starvation. It includes caring for the animals, plants, minerals that have been over hunted, killed by drought, mined from our lands for corporate gain. We need to support and create governments and leaders who care for all who live within their borders. We need to become aware of our over use of all of our elements. We witness the effects of global warming and the havoc that bring in every sphere of life.
Let us heed the words in Sirach and renew our commitment to honor, respect and care for one another.
Let us practice become the embodiment of heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving one another, gratitude, love, and the peace of Christ.
Let us recognize and reverence all creatures as the manifestations of God right here and right now.
Let us be in right relation with all of creation.
Luke 2: 41-52
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.