A Defining Aspect of the Human Experience

On the heels of Christmas there follows the Feast of The Holy Family. This is the day when people like me stand up before people like you and suggest that, in some way, you model your family after The Holy Family.

And this is the day when people like you say to people like me: "Give me a break!"

Mary, full of grace, sinless. Joseph, the chosen caregiver of Jesus. Jesus, the incarnate Son of God. The Word made flesh! Hardly a fair example up against which to realistically measure the every day actions and interactions of your family.

But wait a minute! There is a link. There is a link based upon the fact that Jesus entered into the world within the context of a family. He could have simply appeared as a young man, unseen and unheralded and in fulfillment of prophecies which would have been engendered to that end. For that matter, He could have placed His feet on this earth to the accompaniment of wondrous sights and sounds; perhaps in Jerusalem during a major festival.

Jesus came into the world by way of the womb of Mary who was betrothed to Joseph and so Jesus became a member of a family. This strongly implies that the family is intended to be a significant, if not a defining aspect of the human experience.

The intent and theology of The Incarnation demands that Jesus be seen to be truly one of us. May we not conclude that, in the Divine plan for humanity, the family is normative? Everything about His conception and birth was extraordinary but not the social nucleus in which he was situated. The family. Removed from that context He would have been deprived.

Today there is an increasing number of means by which a womb can be made fruitful. It is not my intention to attempt to weigh their individual validity. If, however, I were to be asked to list, on the basis of Divine revelation, the ideal conditions for the hosting of a new human soul, at the top of that list would be a functional family.

Every one of us, young or old, is, in some major or minor way, a family architect. We all contribute, we all shape, we are all responsible.

Our Faith, indeed our humanity, demands that we act accordingly.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph have mercy on us, pray for us. Amen.

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