The Holy Family
Scripture tells us practically nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we have are the stories of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the incidents that occurred when the twelveyear-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem. In her liturgy the Church hurries over this period of Christ’s life with equal brevity. The general breakdown of the family, however, at the end of the past century and at the beginning of our own, prompted the popes, especially the farsighted Leo XIII, to promote the observance of this feast with the hope that it might instill into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterize the family of Nazareth. The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar for all Christian families. “The Holy Family is an icon of the domestic Church, which is called to pray together. The family is the first school of prayer where, from their infancy, children learn to perceive God, thanks to the teaching and example of their parents. If we do not learn to pray in the family, it will be difficult to fill this gap later. I would, then, like to invite people to rediscover the beauty of praying together as a family, following the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth”. (Pope Benedict XVI) The Christian family is the first cell of the whole Church. It is the place where we begin the journey toward holiness and become more fully human. The Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, became one of us. He was born into a human family. That was neither accidental nor incidental. There, in what the Pope Paul VI called the “School of Nazareth”, we can learn the way of love. Jesus, in his childhood at Nazareth, forever transformed family life. Now, He teaches us how to live in love and devotion, if we will enroll in the “School of Nazareth”.