Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings of love, peace and Joy in Christ from Fr Zevi HGN.
February is the month dedicated to the Holy Family. We are all called to live a family life. it could be the life of a human family in this world. It could also be the life of the supernatural family, which is the Church (through baptism). In a special way, it could be the life of a religious/missionary family (through religious/missionary profession and commitment). Thus, we may all go to Nazareth and with profit observe the model that is offered to us, so that we may shape our lives after that example.
The life of the Holy Family at Nazareth is sketched for us in the Gospel according to Luke 2:41-52. The entire family goes up to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. There Joseph and Mary lose the child and return to Jerusalem in deep sorrow searching for Him. Eventually they find Him in the Temple, and Jesus becomes subject to them. The life of the Holy Family is characterized by zeal for religion and prayer, and by the love that binds it together. Moreover, Jesus, the Son of God, shows a respectful obedience to Joseph and Mary. "And He was subject to them." Come and observe, and learn to imitate this divine model.
A devoted family spirit and these family virtues are a precious possession both for the human family and for the supernatural family. Among these virtues we may call attention especially to:
To live a good, exemplary and Christian family life requires sacrifice, the renunciation of one's own wishes, and a reasonable mortification of self. If it is to be perfect, it demands complete victory over self-love. It necessitates a high degree of virtue, deep piety and living faith, much prayer, and a close union with God.
In our day the very foundations of family life have been shaken by the failure of so many marriages. For this reason, the devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth takes on a new meaning and a new importance. The modern family must again be rejuvenated and filled with the spirit of the Holy Family of Nazareth. It must recapture the spirit of faith, the spirit of subjection to the will of God. It is for this intention that we should offer our prayers and sacrifices during the month.
Knock knock ……. “Who’s there?”……. This is a familiar format for a children’s riddle. You knock, I ask, you reply. It’s based on a simple action– someone knocks on my door and I ask, “Who is it?” Is this a stranger? A friend? A criminal? Who is knocking? We’re right to be curious. And it’s ok to ask questions. But should we automatically be suspicious? What if this is a friend, or someone who needs my help?
This February, Pope Francis asks us to hear the cries of migrants. After all, we shouldn’t bolt the door until we know who is knocking, right? He writes, “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age” (Pope Francis’ message - Migrants & Refugees).
After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with their child. They escape from King Herod who searches for the child “to destroy him” [Matt 2:13]. After this danger passes, the Holy Family returns to their homeland. They were refugees only temporarily. Perhaps they knocked on an unfamiliar door seeking shelter. Imagine Joseph offering to work in exchange for food and housing. Knock knock. “Who’s there?
Modern migration is a complex issue. A humane response requires compassion, wisdom, and cooperation from citizens, churches, police, and government leaders. If we shut our ears and lock the doors of our hearts, then we will never hear the cries of the poor seeking protection and opportunity. Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Who is knocking at our door? How will we respond? (Courtesy: Fr Joseph Laramie, SJ)
Thanking you all in the Friendship of Christ,
Rev Zevier Hirudayaraj Arockiam HGN
Priest Administrator, Catholic Parishes in Pacific County (www.pccatholics.org)
(St Mary Parish, Seaview & McGowan Station,
St. Lawrence Parish, Raymond and
St Joseph at Holy Family Parish, Frances)