Happy Feast of the Holy Family! It is good that we celebrate the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Family life is holy life when it is lived in unity, charity, and mutual support. Family life assures us of our dignity at all stages of life and reinforces our need to give and receive love unconditionally. We love and support our family because they are family; no other reason is required.
Sirach reminds us that this reverence for family is a Godly pursuit: “Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them…he stores up riches who reveres his mother.” And further, “kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins—a house raised in justice to you.” (cf. Sir 3:2-6, 12-14) Sirach spends much of his book praising the virtues of his ancestors, those who served God well. The same virtues that make one a good member of a family also make one a good servant of God and of larger society. And the self-sacrifice learned in family life automatically restrains us from the self-serving path of sin. Family life requires us to respect our elders, which pays off immediately in peace in the home, and long-term in developing our respect for human life in its later stages. Thus we develop virtues in society as a whole, not just in the individual.
Healthy, virtuous families make for healthy, virtuous people and society, so let us model our families on the Holy Family and make our homes and society holy.