In this season marked by family gatherings, it is appropriate that we celebrate today the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. When God the Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, became incarnate in human flesh, he became a member of a human family and of the human family. God entrusted to the care of Mary and Joseph his divine Son, just as he entrusts to the care of their parents all children born into this world. Since all of us are children of God, parents should receive and nurture their children with the same reverence and love with which Mary and Joseph cared for Jesus. Likewise, children should obey and love their parents as Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph.
Tuesday, on New Year’s Day, we celebrate the second of the three solemnities of the Christmas season: the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Without Mary’s cooperation, God’s plan for our salvation could not have come to completion. On this day we express our debt of gratitude to Mary, whose response to God was: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” This solemnity is a holy day of obligation. There will be Mass at St. Charles Monday evening at 5:30 and Tuesday morning at 8:30; and at St. Peter on Tuesday morning at 9:00.
For 52 years January 1 has been observed by Catholics, at least, as the World Day of Peace. For his message for the 52nd annual World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has chosen the theme, “Good Politics Is at the Service of Peace.” He says:
In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.” (Luke 10:5-6)
Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history. The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.
So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!”
To read The Holy Father’s message in its entirety, go to <w2.vatican.va>; click on the English logo; then click on “Messages”;then “World Day of Peace.”
Father Miller and I wish to thank all who remembered us with prayers, cards, gifts, homemade treats and wines this Christmas. It is always heartwarming to know how much our ministry means to you. I want to express gratitude also to all who donated and delivered cookies to our homebound parishioners before Christmas. I can assure you, from those I visited, that they were very much appreciated.
Enjoy these holy holidays as you gather with family and friends. Pray for the safety of all who are traveling during these days and remember those who are far from home, especially those serving overseas.
May God bless us all throughout the coming year.