Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph: "in a town called Nazareth" God chose to have a family according to His plan for every family

If any human person could ever claim the capacity to head a single-parent family it would be Mary, would it not? Immaculately conceived, a virgin daughter of Israel faithful to God and His law, holy Mary was equipped well, if anyone ever was, to go it alone. She even conceived a child outside of natural means through the intervention of the Holy Spirit: she had no need of relations and so a father was not involved in her motherhood as is normally the case. If there was ever a time that a woman could rightfully hesitate to entrust herself to a man in marriage it was Mary. And yet God intervened and ensured that Joseph would be the foster father of Christ. Even for God Himself it was necessary to have both a father and a mother.

As we learn through the book of Sirach, "God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them." (Sir 3:2-6, 12-14)

Christ's total solidarity with the human race following upon His incarnation on the first Christmas demanded that he also enter into the experience of the human family as all of us do.

"Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

"The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
And the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal." (CCC 525)

"Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household." When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world."
-- CCC 1655

God reaffirmed His plan that every child has a right to be naturally conceived in keeping with human dignity, though not so by necessity in the case of the Lord, but always to enjoy the benefit of a father and mother.

All of us have been exposed to the current madness in which individuals, societies and governments act as though the family can be manipulated into some combination of persons other than one man and one woman called to radical openness to the new life of the children they may bring into the world. Manipulation of the family as created by God is an abomination and a sinful usurpation of God's will and plan for the flourishing and happiness of every human person.

Catholic Christians should shun any sign of approval for events which involve marital simulation ceremonies, or invalid or unnatural unions. The scandal that results from attending such events must be made account of in the tribunal of God because of the impediment they pose for salvation of oneself or others. Speaking or acting in such a way as to lead others to believe that one approves of such events is such a scandal. Faith demands the witness of our actions if it is sincerely held.

"In a so-called free union, a man and a woman refuse to give juridical and public form to a liaison involving sexual intimacy.

"The expression 'free union' is fallacious: what can "union" mean when the partners make no commitment to one another, each exhibiting a lack of trust in the other, in himself, or in the future?

"The expression covers a number of different situations: concubinage, rejection of marriage as such, or inability to make long-term commitments. All these situations offend against the dignity of marriage; they destroy the very idea of the family; they weaken the sense of fidelity. They are contrary to the moral law. The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion."(CCC 2390)

Today we experience the opposition of evil to God.

"The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not." Christ's whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people."
-- CCC 530

All of us and all of our families face the darkness of sin in this world which results when God and His plan are rejected. All of us are called to seek Christ the new-born Savior and His light to guide us through confusing and sometimes discouraging times so that we know the purpose and joy of living the truth which sets us free for happiness now and forever because it corresponds to the dignity to which we have been called by God from creation and to which we have been restored in Christ who alone can destroy death and restore life.

That we may choose life let us choose Christ who alone can give the gift.

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