I suspect that when most people think about the Holy Family, they imagine a picture of total happiness, where there is no suffering of any kind and where every day just turns out perfectly. Yes, Jesus and Mary were completely sinless, and Joseph was a most chaste and righteous man. But, they still had their difficulties. I watch a movie titled The Nativity Story and in this movie the producer presented the Holy family as a family that didn’t find it so easy even though it was God’s own family. This movie first gave me a sense of this side of the Holy family, but if you think about it, Scripture reveals it too. The Holy Family had many trials, including public scorn, homelessness, harsh environments and traveling conditions, a power-hungry and blood-thirsty king, and the pressures — and ultimately the suffering — that comes with knowing that your son must die to save the world.
What we can learn from this is that the Holy Family can relate to a family that struggles. A sword pierced Mary’s heart, so that the thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed (cf. Lk 2:35). Joseph, for his part, had always on his shoulders the task of protecting and providing for this holiest of holy families. They both had quite a scare when, for three days, they had no clue where to find their son (cf. Lk 2:41-49). Of course, if anyone knows suffering, it is Jesus. As a family, they are acquainted with struggle, but more importantly, they also know how to overcome and to survive. Because of their family experience, they are powerful intercessors when we wrestle with family issues. If you suffer because you are a mother, find solace in Mary. She cares greatly for the entire Body of Christ, just as she cared for the literal body of Christ. Mary never found it easy being alone with Christ at his passion and death. She never had Joseph to stand by her or to console her while she watched her son being disgraced and eventually crucified. This was indeed the fulfillment of the prophesy of Simeon “a sword will piece your heart”.
Do we really think Mary found this easy and funny. At this point of her life, motherhood took a new meaning for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Hence the ‘joy of motherhood’ is not a bed of roses. Many of our Christian mothers today do not want to identify with any difficulty, trials or hard times. Our motto is now ‘for better for stay, for worse for go’ but the Patron saint of the Confraternity of Christian Mother is ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ – Oh what a contradiction! Think about the joys and encomium now showered on Our Blessed mother, they never came without some hard time. Just as Sarah was the spiritual mother of the Jews (cf. 1 Pet 3:6), Mary is the spiritual mother of “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12:17). She is also the mother of all mothers. And so in good and in difficult time let us always find solace in her. Her prayer for us will always be powerful because her will is always united with her Son’s, and because “the prayer of the righteous has great power in its effects” (Jas 5:16). If you suffer because you are a father, find solace in St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. St. Joseph will never forsake his fatherly duty. He is the patron saint and the protector of families.
This is a young man who had his life planned out and a future with his wife to be (Mary) planned out. Put simply, all these plans were aborted by the new mission that God was giving him, we may think it is easy but think about it. How many men today would do the following? • Accept to marry a woman who is already pregnant • Raise a child that is biologically not yours • Protect a family that we can say is not totally yours • Pay the bills of such family • Train the child to take over your business • Sincerely stay with a woman you have no sexual knowledge of, without having other women Now you see that it is not as easy as you thought it was. In the midst of all these, the integrity of Joseph is unalloyed and unequalled. With his powerful intercession, he protects God’s children, just like he protected God’s Child. As Mary’s most chaste spouse, he also teaches boys how to be good men, and men how to be good fathers too. Pray that St. Joseph will help your father to be the man that God is calling him to be. Of course, there is no intercession, no solace, no love, no source of strength and courage and hope like that of the Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our Salvation.
In Him, we can do all things, overcome all things, be all things. Even though he is God, he learnt from and obeyed his parent. It was never heard of that Jesus grew so conscious of his divine state and began to disrespect his parents. He did chores for them, he never disobeyed them. Remember when Mary made a request at the wedding feast of Cana, the words of Jesus were ‘my hour has not yet come’ Jesus for the love and respect he had for his mother, had to change the divine plan and granted that request. (John 2:1-12) How many of our children today, who were raised by their parents and have become someone in life, but they no longer have regards for their parents. Today Jesus becomes a model of love and obedience for all children. No matter how old you are, you are still a child of you parents, no matter what you are in life today, you parent are still your parents. Together, the mother, the father, and the Son are a triple threat against anything that threatens the integrity of the family. They have become a model of encouragement for all families. We pray through the intercession of the Holy family that God the Almighty father will restore love to all families all over the world. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary … have mercy on us. Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church … pray for us. Joseph, Protector of Families … pray for us