The message that comes from the Holy Family is first of all a message of faith. In the family life of Mary and Joseph, God is truly at the center, and He is so in the Person of Jesus. This is why the Family of Nazareth is holy. Why? Because it is centered on Jesus.
When parents and children together breathe in this climate of faith, they have an energy that allows them to face even difficult trials, as the experience of the Holy Family shows, for example, in the dramatic event of their flight to Egypt: a difficult ordeal.
The Baby Jesus with his Mother Mary and with St. Joseph are a simple but so luminous icon of the family. The light it casts is the light of mercy and salvation for all the world, the light of truth for every man, for the human family and for individual families. This light which comes from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in those family situations in which, for various reasons, peace is lacking, harmony is lacking, and forgiveness is lacking. May our concrete solidarity not diminish especially with regard to the families who are experiencing more difficult situations due to illness, unemployment, discrimination, the need to emigrate.
Today our gaze on the Holy Family lets us also be drawn into the simplicity of the life they led in Nazareth. It is an example that does our families great good, helping them increasingly to become communities of love and reconciliation, in which tenderness, mutual help, and mutual forgiveness is experienced. Let us remember the three key words for living in peace and joy in the family: “may I,” “thank you” and “sorry.” In our family, when we are not intrusive and ask “may I,” in our family when we are not selfish and learn to say “thank you,” and when in a family one realizes he has done something wrong and knows how to say “sorry,” in that family there is peace and joy.
Taking the Word to Heart
Sometimes the holiday celebrations bring together too many different family members too often or for too many days on end. As we’ve remarked earlier in the season, family is often the first and last place that we learn to live with and love others when it’s easy and when it’s difficult. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph knew the struggles and hardships of life in the same way that families around the world struggle every day.
Bringing the Word to Life
Talk with your family (immediate or extended) about the three words the pope suggests are essential for family harmony: “may I,” “thank you,” and “sorry.” Take some time, too, to reflect on how these words can be extended across our family of nations.
Pope Francis Prays
Let us fervently call upon Mary Most Holy, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother, and St. Joseph her spouse. Let us ask them to enlighten, comfort and guide every family in the world, so that they may fulfill with dignity and peace the mission which God has entrusted to them.