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December 29, 2013

A seventy five year old man went to the doctor’s office for his annual physical checkup. The doctor was greatly impressed with the man’s superb condition. He said, “You have the body of a man twenty five years younger. What is the secret of your extraordinarily good health?

The man replied, “When I was married 50 years ago, my wife and I agreed never to fight. We both hate to quarrel. So whenever things began heating up and it looked as though we were going to have a fight, she would stay in the house and I would go out for a long walk. Consequently, I attribute my good health to the fact that for fifty years I’ve lived pretty much of an outdoor life!”

Of course this story is fictional but it also reflects some struggles in family. Jesus could have come to us as an angel but he chose to be born the same way you and I were born: in a human family!

Many Christian families today ask, "How can we identify
with the Holy Family? Mary was a virgin, Joseph a celibate,
the Boy divine." Yet, is it difficult to struggle at the very beginning of the marriage as theirs? Yet, is it difficult to give birth in a foreign town, in a stable? Yet, is it really that difficult to identify with a family on the run? With a couple without a passport who had to prove most resourceful to get by frontier guards? With Joseph, Mary, and Jesus who had to somehow survive living in a Cairo ghetto for at least four years and possibly as long as seven? With a family that did not speak the country's language? Can you imagine for a widow to watch her son die on the cross?

Here is a Holy Family you can easily identify with. They knew what it was to deal with poverty, an empty stomach and suffering. Their closeness to God did not erase the terrible heat and freezing blasts of the desert's various moods. All they could do was trust in God. They believed firmly that someday they would understand the reasons for all their deprivations and discomfort. In the meantime, they crossed their fingers, hoped, and prayed.

In our times of pain and turmoil, we ask, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" In those periods, remember that the Holy Family likewise suffered. God did not shield them from hardship. Rather, He gave them the strength of character to bear pains. Through them, was He not telling us that He will not turn His back on us when we find ourselves between the fire and Hell?

In the human family at large, children incidentally still have Herods to fear through abortions, abuses, poverty, the lure of media and consumerism, the selfishness of individualism. What are we as Christ-followers doing about this Herodian slaughter? May the Hoy Family strengthen you and bless you.

Fr. Matthew and I would like to thank all of you who had come to the Christmas Celebration. We thank especially those who were involved directly in the liturgy. We thank you for your Christmas Cards, wishes, gifts and sweets. Your love, care, and prayers keep us going.

We wrapped 1,500 gifts for you and 228 left. If you forgot to pick one, or you think that someone needs a gift from the parish, please take a gift the next time you come to church.

We are leaving 2013 and entering 2014. I wish you a blessed New Year. I also ask your pardon if I have offended anyone or I have neglected anyone. Please forgive me. Thank you again.

Happy New Year