The church celebrates the feast of the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This feast is usually celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas. Celebrating this feast today, calls to mind a model for the family life. A family whose lifestyle should challenge us to build our family in the same way. The readings we have today, points out the fact that every member of the family has a role to play if we truly want to attract the blessings of God to our family. Taking into consideration today the challenges that are faced today in our world by the marriage institution, one cannot but say that it is important to reflect about the family life. Everyone that is part of a family, must be ready to play his or her role like Jesus, Mary and Joseph if we truly desire to be like the holy family. No wonder, amongst the 10 commandments it is only the 4th commandment that has a blessing attached to it. “Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long”. A blessing is directly attached to the 4th commandment.

The children in a family has a role to play towards their father and their mother. The 4th commandment already gives us a hint on how to go about carrying our role in the family. As a child we have to learn to live good lives by performing our duties in the family and living in such a way that will be pleasing to God like Jesus did in the holy family. A life that truly show that we are children of God and Christians too. As children our lives should always give glory to God and also our friends and family should be proud of the kind of life we lead. We must be sources of joy and encouragement to our family. Children should not be source of pain, sorrow and bitterness to their parents and family. The world in which we live today, is throwing a lot of challenges at us that is affecting family values. Some children are more comfortable doing things their own way, instead of the guidelines given by their parents.

The bond that binds the family life together, is facing a lot of difficulties in recent times. This can be testified to by the increasing number of divorce cases all over. This is as a result of the fact that the married life is facing a lot of difficulties in our own time. Interestingly, as the number of divorce cases continue to increase, so also people continue to engage in holy matrimony. It is a sign that so many people still believe in the married life. It is for us as members of different families to resolve and work hard to ensure that our family become like the holy family. This will be possible if we all resolve to play our role within the family. The mother, has to resolve to be both a good mother to her children and a good wife to her husband. She has to play her role like Mary did in the holy family. The father also must perform his function as both a father and a husband; just like Joseph in the holy family. Every member of the family must be ready to collaborate to make the family a happy and peaceful one.

One of the major challenge facing family life today is that parents are so busy that they have no time to play their roles towards their children any more as parents. It is important that as parents continue to struggle for the upkeep of their families, they must not take lightly their roles as parents to their children. The after effect of this situation is seen today in our society. It is more of children learning from their peers because their parents are not around to teach them. A little more time and care should be given to children by their parents, this will go a long way to impact positively on the lives of children. Parents should take their responsibilities towards their children seriously and God will richly bless them.

The realization of a loving and united family is made easier if we invite God into our home. The question, does God have a place in your family? Is very important. You must make him part of your family. The saying that “a family that prays together stays together” is very true and important. Praying together as a family will help to build and solidify the family bond, peace and unity; that is no longer found in many families in recent times.  If every family will take serious the values of family life; peace, love, unity, it may help to reduce the number of divorce cases in our society. Dear friends in Christ, let us all resolve to play our roles within our family.

It is my prayer that God will grant us the grace to make our family like that of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Peace be with you. Amen.

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family Year A, by Fr. Jude Ifezime, C.S.Sp