Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The octave of Christmas provides a beautiful liturgical key in which to understand Christmas. Throughout the Advent season, we prayed that we would be prepared for the “coming feasts” – plural-precisely because in the octave days after December 25, and indeed throughout the Christmas season, we prolong the Christmas feast. Each day is a day of celebration and joy during which we are invited to visit the Child lying in a manger, to reflect on His presence in our lives, and to rejoice with the choirs of angels, the shepherds, and all who hear the Good News.
The Sunday in the octave is always dedicated to the Holy Family. It is in the context of a family that God brings salvation to the world. Though He is the eternally begotten Son of the Father, fully divine second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus is fully human also, and thus experiences what it is to grow as a human. His human life is real and he experiences the joy of family life. From the home of Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, our Lord will go out to proclaim the Good News, to call all people to follow Him, to bring healing and mercy to the world, and ultimately, to suffer His Passion for our salvation. The greatest gift that our heavenly Father can give to the world, He bestows on us via the family.
On this feast of the Holy Family, we are reminded of the good that God desires to bring into the world through our own families. Whether our families are young and still at home, or grown and separated by geographical distance, it is in the family that God’s work of sanctification begins. The biological family is extended in a spiritual way in the parish community. As such, we belong to a family of faith, a mystical communion by which we are united in a bond of charity and fellowship as we worship the one true God. And so it is good for us to be together and have our family bonds renewed each week. In these joyful feasts of Christmas, let us remember this profound union we share and grow each day in charity as a family of faith.