Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
1st Corinthians 3:12-17
Today is the solemnity of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
We all know their story well and can learn from them how we are called to live as holy families.
I find the message in Sacred Scripture this week woven into the fabric of my own family’s story. Perhaps you can see this scripture in the tapestry of your family, too.
The primary role of the parent is to protect the safety of their children, especially the most vulnerable family members.
I cannot help but think of the pains my parents went through to protect my ailing sister from her congenital heart defect. The countless number of hospital visits and painful surgeries. They lived at Providence Hospital in Seattle for many months during my sister’s short life.
I cannot help but think about how my mother protected my brothers and me after our father’s suicide in 1975. Immediately insisting that we all work with therapists to come to terms with this deep wound that would resonate in our family life for years to come.
I cannot help but think of my brother-in-law who saved our youngest son from certain injury or even death, when an innocent sledding trip to Mt. Spokane nearly turned into a disaster. Our four-year-old son was in a little plastic toboggan on a small hillside near the ski resort when one push sent the toboggan dangerously careening off the sled hill track and onto the ski hill and headed for the side of a wood and concrete wall. Danny would run at top speed to stop the sled from crashing into the side of the ski lodge inches from disaster as we watched in helpless horror.
The role of family is to model holiness for all to see.
I cannot help but think of my own wife Mary and how her example of faith inspired me to come back to the Catholic faith I left as a teenager and, by her actions, help me find my own holiness again. What a gift. Much like George Bailey’s wife Mary in It’s A Wonderful Life, my Mary has been my NorthStar, my moral compass, and an inspiration in my faith life.
I cannot help but thank God for allowing me to witness birth for the first time in person on the Feast of St. Stephens as our son Sean was born on the day commemorating the first Christian martyr and one of the first seven deacons of the Catholic Church. And for how God let me witness death in person for the first time on the Feast of St. Francis, a deacon, as my mother-in-law passed from this life as I said prayers alone with her at a hospital room in Spokane.
I had been asking God for a sign that the diaconate was what God wanted for my life. In those experiences, I saw book ends provided by our creator to offer solace and renewed commitment to the call I was feeling.
To help us further reflect on today’s readings, it is my great honor to call forward Pastoral Associate Deanna Tighe.