Feast of the Holy Family

12-27-2020Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Family,

Peace and Joy in Our Lord Jesus!

I find today’s gospel passage to be incredibly moving. This print depicts the Flight into Egypt. In the picture, Mary is resting between the paws of the Egyptian sphinx as She cradles Her newborn Son. Meanwhile, Joseph lays in front of a smoldering fire absolutely exhausted. They are a suffering family and Mary and Joseph have done everything they can do to protect the Christ child.

We can learn a lot from this Gospel. Suddenly the Holy Family has to leave everything and move to a foreign country to avoid the king, who wants to kill Jesus. Jesus is just a week old and already, there is trouble. Surely there was another way! Couldn't God have somehow just "taken care" of Herod? Why did the Holy Family have to suffer?

This question is not an academic one for most of us. Haven't you asked yourself the same question, in the contexts of a family crisis or tragedy? In fact, the real test of our faith comes when we come face to face with some sort of injustice or undeserved illness, some crisis in our family -- an unexpected death, an accident, someone slanders us, our health or our employment fails, and God seems to turn a deaf ear to us. We find ourselves asking the question again: why was this necessary?

The answer to our haunting question is hidden within this passage. Yes, God could have bumped off Herod and solved Mary and Joseph's problem, but He didn't. Perhaps this hardship was necessary for their growth in holiness as they experience a time of total dependence and trust on God. Yes, even Mary and Joseph had to learn these things!

All wisdom for us ultimately lies, at the foot of the cross. For Jesus will not fully answer our deepest questions about why in this life. Instead, He offers us His very own sacrifice, which He makes present to us and our families in the Mass. Yes, somehow, it was necessary for the Lord to go through His own sufferings, innocent though He was. Because He has also suffered so much for us, we in turn can suffer for Him. Our sufferings have meaning, even before we understand why they were necessary, because our Lord's suffering had meaning. It is at the foot of the cross that we will find the answers we need in this life.

So, on this Feast of the Holy Family, if you and your family face obstacles and suffering as we approach the New Year, know that all is not lost! In fact, in Jesus, nothing is lost. Hope is always available to those who believe and trust that Christ has come to save us. Even when all seems lost, Our Lord draws close. He is with us in our struggles… to strengthen the weary heart and to ease our burdens. “Cast your worries upon Him for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

My heart is filled with joy and gratitude for all God is doing in our parish. May our Patroness, most powerful St. Bernadette obtain for each of us the grace to one day meet God face to face and may Our Lady be our solace and guide in every endeavor, joy, and trial! And may the Holy Eucharist be our wisdom and strength!