Feast Of The Holy Family – Year B
December 27, 2020 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Sirach 3:3-6;12-14 | Psalm 105:1-6;8-9
Colossians 3:12-17 | Luke 2:22-40

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Today is the first Sunday of Christmas and is dedicated to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The importance of today’s celebration in both the church and society cannot be overestimated.

The family is the center of human society and the place where life and learning begin.

The family union can consist of any mother and father, whether they are male and female or same-sex.

Today, on Holy Family Sunday, I’d like to share a story from Samuel Bernstein, a Brooklyn Jew whose son was a rabbi.

Maurice Antor and his wife were very well-to-do people. They had a little son about six or seven years old who was a very nice little boy.

There was an old grandpa who lived with them which was good since everyone knows that to be a good Jew, you take care of old people.

But the trouble with Grandpa was as he got older, he got a little shaky. And as a result, very often, the food he was eating would roll down his shirt. Because of this, they put a bib on him just like babies have.

So Maurice and his wife devised a plan: over the garage where they parked their cars, they fixed a nice little place just for Grandpa, so he could eat up there and watch television up there so they wouldn’t have to hide Grandpa in the kitchen when they had guests.

So they put Grandpa up there and every evening, they would place Grandpa’s supper in his wooden bowl and say to the little boy, “Why don’t you go and bring this to Grandpa?”

And he’d go up. He loved to go up to Grandpa because Grandpa always had these great stories to tell. So the little boy and Grandpa would be up there for supper time. And when Grandpa finished his meal, the little boy would come down with the empty dishes.

Well, this was a daily operation and the little boy loved it and it seemed to solve all the problems.

One day, it was Maurice’s birthday and all his rich friends were going to come and celebrate his birthday. So they asked Grandpa to go up to his room. And the little boy came down just in time for the guests.

It was a great party! Everyone was dressed to the nines and they were all drinking expensive rare wine.

Then they opened the birthday presents which were lavish and beautiful.

And then the little boy said, “Here’s my present, Daddy!”

And Maurice, the father says, “You don’t have to give me anything, you’re my son.”

But the little boy said, “No, I’ve been waiting. I want to give you this.”

So Maurice opens the package and in it is a little wooden bowl.

The father said, “Where did you get this, child?”

And he said, “I made it myself.” He was so proud of his little bowl!

And the father said, “Well, what is it for?”

And the little boy said, “ It’s for you when you get old and my son is going to bring your supper.”

And he meant it with great kindness.

Jesus taught us “To learn how to love is to learn how to be kind, accepting, loving, and caring, but most of all, it is to make people feel that they are loved and cherished by God by the way we treat them.”

In our first reading from Sirach, the three different components of a family are outlined: father, mother, and children. Sirach emphasizes the role of children towards their parents as centering on honoring them and their authority.

In today’s second reading from Colossians, Paul reminds us that we must strive for the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness towards all members of our family. He states, “let the peace of Christ control your hearts.”

Usually, I share only one story with you on Sunday. But this particular Sunday of the Holy Family, I came across another one that was too good not to share.

A father passing by his son’s bedroom was astonished to see the bed nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope propped up prominently on the center of the bed. It was addressed, “Dad.”

With premonition, he opened the envelope and read with trembling hands, “Dear Dad, It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing this. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I’ve been finding real passion with Michele and she is so nice, even with all her piercings, tattoos, and her tight motorcycle clothes. But it’s not only the passion, Dad, but she’s also pregnant and Michele said that we will be very happy. Even though you don’t care for her as she is so much older than I am, she already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. She wants to have many more children with me and that’s now one of my dreams too. Michele taught me that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone and we’ll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with her friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. I’m 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I’m sure we’ll be back to visit so you can get to know your grandchildren. Love, Your son, John.

P.S. Dad, none of this is true. I’m over at the neighbor’s house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than my report card that’s in my desk center drawer. I love you! Call when it’s safe for me to come home.

Today’s Gospel outlines the important characteristics of a family: prayer and unity of purpose. Prayer and unity sustain and help our families, especially during difficult times such as what we are experiencing during this pandemic.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall. But I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

In all families, promises are made. Sometimes they are fulfilled, and sometimes they are not. Our families might not be perfect, but we are still surrounded by the qualities Saint Paul mentioned today of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, hope, and forgiveness.

Let us be thankful that we always have Jesus to guide us and help us by teaching us, shielding us from harm, and bringing us peace.