Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Holy Family

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Honorine Yamba

Published: December 29, 2019

The feast of the Holy Family is one which relates to our own families. It is the family which makes every person a social being. Each family is unique. If we ask about the concept of family, answers will be different according to the personal experience of each person.

For a long time, the classic family was comprised of father, mother and children. Today, in the context of society, new forms of family have emerged.  For example, the increase in the number of divorces (which implies remarriages or new unions) leads to the expansion of the number of blended and single-parent families. Growing up, a child defines himself or herself according to the style of family in which he or she was brought up. If we widen the research to include different cultures, the notion of family will have even more diverse connotations. In Africa, for example, the extended family has an impact on the life of each person. Certain decisions are made by this extended family.  

The first reading (Sirach 3: 2-6, 12-14) highlights well the relationships which should exist between children and parents. Emphasis is placed on the duty of children toward their parents.
Nowadays, to use the example of family to explain the infinite love of God as a father poses a problem, for few families follow the classic norms of a true family. In these various household forms, it is the child who becomes the target if the parents do not take responsibility. Recently in the torrential rain in the month of November which caused many human and material losses in Kinshasa, one father stated that he felt the rolling of water.  He managed to escape the house himself without thinking about the child who was in the other room. The child died because of a lack of assistance.  

I will pass over in silence other details; my attention will turn toward the person of Joseph, in the role of protector which he played and his sense of responsibility as father of Jesus and husband of Mary.  Thanks to his listening and his faith, he understood his duty and took care of his spouse.  He accepted everything and was ready to flee to protect the child and his mother. He listened to the angel before making any further decisions.  He did it with love, meticulously.
The itinerary of the child Jesus is summarized here: flight from Bethlehem into Egypt, return to Galilee and settling in Nazareth. Submitting in a way to the condition of “displaced persons,” Jesus enjoyed the affection of his parents.

In this jubilee year of the sainthood of Julie, let us ask the grace to walk with open eyes and hearts and see what is happening around us - and act. Let us never lose sight of the fact that Julie and Francoise were also displaced persons, moving from Amiens to Namur. We are sometimes unaware of what is happening around us because we are not directly touched by it.  

Let us confide all families into the hands of the Holy Family!

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