As an example for us to follow, the Holy Family can seem a little too perfect: when we consider the more dramatic events of the Christmas and Easter story, it can seem so far removed from us. And yet, as todays Gospel reminds us (especially in the shorter version), there were also the so-called hidden years – the many years of family life in Nazareth, spent in ordinary things. During that time, we hear how Jesus grew and matured, and in the glimpse of that family life we see our example. The family is a basic unit of our Christian society, despite coming under threat nowadays. Our celebration of this feast, and the Word of God we proclaim, announces that there is a lasting value in the ideals of family life, and the relationship between husband, wife, parents and children. Whatever the changing details of each age, honour, understanding and love always remain the recipe for the perfect, and holy, human family. It is love that we put on over all the other clothes of changing cultures and places, to guarantee the life of the family in imitation of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
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