By Julia Williams
The church deeply venerates the Holy Family and proposes it as the model of all families. Inserted directly in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Family of Nazareth has its own special mystery. And in this mystery, one finds true parenthood.
Joseph’s commitment to fatherhood is not one that derives from begetting offspring; but neither is it an apparent, nor merely, substitute fatherhood. Rather, it is one that fully shares in authentic human fatherhood and the mission of a father in the family.
Mary’s suffering shows the full extent of her motherhood — not just bringing life forth but offering it to God. The Blessed Mother never forgot her Infant, and, therefore, we cannot fail to recall the fidelity of the Lord to His covenant with us.
The diagnosis of ‘family’ today is bleak. Sociocultural realities discourage the young from marrying, contributing to factors like ‘fear of commitment’ and ‘high divorce rates’. This disrespect for marriage belittles parenthood.
Commitment is a key characteristic of an everyday steward. The examples and commitment to parenthood by Joseph and Mary help us to be strong when it seems that life is hard. More importantly, reflecting on their lives can help us truly see the ways God moves in our lives and the gifts He has given us to use for His glory.
The Feast of the Holy Family prompts us to recognize the importance of the family. Indeed, Jesus is born in a family!