Holy Family - Fr. Pete Iorio
December 27, 11:00 AM
A little boy greets his father as he returns from work with a question: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” The father is surprised and says, “Look, son, not even your mother knows. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” “But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?” the boy insists. The father finally gives up and replies, “Twenty dollars.” “Okay, Daddy,” the boy continues, “Could you loan me ten dollars?” The father yells at him, “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Now, go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!” At night the father thinks over what he said and starts feeling guilty. Maybe his son needed to buy something. Finally, he goes to his son’s room. “Are you asleep, son?” asks the father. “No, Daddy. Why?” replies the boy. “Here’s the money you asked for earlier,” the father said. “Thanks, Daddy!” replies the boy and receives the money. The he reaches under his pillow and brings out some more money. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” says the boy to his father, “Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?”
Today's feast is an important part of the mystery of the birth of Jesus, and we should think a little about what we learn from the life of Mary, Joseph and Jesus as a family. It is easy to see an ideal image in the Holy Family. But most families do not exist in an ideal state. We must recognize that there are many possibilities of family.
Pope Francis has dedicated this year that started December 8 to St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. In the apostolic letter called “Heart of the father”, the pontiff highlighted virtues in this man who did not utter a single word in the Gospels. By his eloquent silence, St. Joseph says imitate me. I highlight 3 virtues of Joseph that any man or woman can develop as they are really universal spiritual truths. The pope said that Covid-19 it makes us understand the importance of ordinary people, those who, far from the limelight, exercise patience every day and instill hope.
The evil one makes us see and condemn our frailty, whereas the Spirit brings it to light with tender love. Tenderness is the best way to touch the frailty within us. Pointing fingers and judging others are frequently signs of an inability to accept our own weaknesses, our own frailty. Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser (cf. Rev 12:10). That is why it is so important to encounter God’s mercy, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where we experience his truth and tenderness.
- An accepting father
Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally. He trusted in the angel’s words. “The nobility of Joseph’s heart is such that what he learned from the law he made dependent on charity. Remember he decided to divorce her quietly so as not to expose her to the harshness of the law since she was pregnant and the child was not Joseph’s. Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man. Even though he does not understand the bigger picture, he makes a decision to protect Mary’s good name, her dignity and her life. In his hesitation about how best to act, God helped him by enlightening his judgment”.
Often in life, things happen whose meaning we do not understand. Our first reaction is frequently one of disappointment and rebellion. Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history. Unless we are reconciled with our personal history, we will be unable to take a single step forward, for we will always remain hostage to our expectations and the disappointments that follow.
- A father in the Shadows
Fathers are not born but made. A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child. Whenever a man accepts responsibility for the life of another, in some way he becomes a father to that person.
Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift. In him, we never see frustration but only trust. Our world today needs fathers. It has no use for tyrants who would domineer others as a means of compensating for their own needs.
The aim of this Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, is to increase our love for this great saint Joseph, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.