Project Description

Holy Family B

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 / Colossians 3:12-17 / Luke 2:22-40

 

When I was in the seminary in Chicago,

I cut out a “Letter to the Editor”

in the Chicago Sun-Times

that I’ve had with me ever since.

 

I’ve used it a few times before

because I think it’s so insightful.

 

The letter goes like this:

 

What’s the world’s toughest job? 

President? 

Pope? 

NFL quarterback? 

 

Not enough close! 

 

By all standards known to our species,

that title goes to parents. 

 

It’s the only high-demand job

for which there’s no preparation,

no training,

no user’s guide. 

 

Despite all this,

the work involves the most complex

and precious of commodities—

another human life.

 

This task actually begins with conception

(or adoption),

and ends only with the grave. 

 

Especially if you’re the mother. 

 

From morning sickness to 2 AM feedings,

to getting them out the door for school,

to helping them down the wedding aisle,

to the last breath you take,

 

your assignment is the

dazzlingly impossible one of

molding this physiological gift

into a full-dimensional person. 

 

And if truth be known,

all too often, against their will.

 

Children are joy and they’re sorrow;

mountains of hope and valleys of fear;

 

always there when they need you

and not always there when you need them. 

 

Yet, that was how it was with us,

so why not with ours? 

 

At least two truths become apparent:

first, you have touched God

by sharing in the breath-taking act of creation. 

 

Second, you have understood God

by experiencing how bottomless love and

unending forgiveness work. 

 

So while the job is tough

with only long-deferred rewards,

it still remains exquisitely exhilarating. 

 

Perhaps that helps explains why

it’s been around for so long and

will be around for a long time to come.

 

Signed,

Jack Spartafora

Park Ridge, IL

 

Some of my very best friends are parents!

 

I knew them before they were parents. . .

 

and I have known after they become parents. . .

 

So I’ve seen what they go through. . . .

 

I’ve seen the great sacrifices

and the enormous difficulties. . .

 

I’ve seen the tremendous joys.

 

I think that’s why I love this letter so much.

 

As much as I can know,

I know it to be true.

 

The world’s toughest job. . .

is being a parent.

 

The most insightful lines in

the letter I think are these:

 

At least two truths become apparent:

 

First, you have touched God

by sharing in the breath-taking act of creation. 

 

Second, you have understood God

by experiencing how bottomless love and

unending forgiveness work. 

 

These lines are so insightful

because Mr. Jack Spartafora

from Park Ridge, Illinois

 

has made the connection

between family life. . .

between parenthood. . .

 

and the Divine!!!!

 

That the family is

part of God’s plan

and an extended act of God’s

breath-taking act of creation. . .

 

that the family is integral

to God’s plan for humanity

as the basic structure of human society. . . .

 

where we are formed!!!

 

And where all the members can flourish

in safety and security.

 

And does what does require?

 

It requires attributes of God. . .

 

Divine attributes like bottomless love. . .

and unending forgiveness.

 

Divine attributes like we heard in Colossians:

 

Compassion

And kindness

And humility

And gentleness,

and patience.

 

Bearing with one another. . .

 

Even with all the stress and frustration. . .

Even when the stakes are so high.

 

There are two major points

I want to make that I hope

puts this Solemnity of the Holy Family

in its proper perspective for us. . .

 

living 2000 years after the Holy Family lived.

 

First, is something that Jesus taught

about His own family in his earthly ministry.

 

Jesus was speaking to a group of His disciples

when someone came up and told

Him that His mother and brothers were

outside and asking to speak to Him            (Matt 12:46).

 

And Jesus used this moment as a moment to teach.

 

He said,

“Who is my mother?

Who are my brothers?”

And stretching out his hand

toward his disciples,

he said,

 

Here are my mother and my brothers.

 

For whoever does the will of my

heavenly Father is my brother,

and sister,

and mother.”

 

You see,

Jesus makes us part of his extended family.

 

Jesus makes us part of the Holy Family.

 

And when we think about it. . .

Wow is that ever significant!!!

 

We are part of the Holy Family. . .

 

So the success of our families is

the business the Holy Family.

 

Let me repeat that. . .

 

The success of our families is

the business of the Holy Family. . .

 

We’re all kin. . .

Us and the Holy Family

 

That’s the first point.

 

The second point is one

I learned toward the end of my time in seminary.

 

There was an old,

wise priest who had seen it all.

 

He had seen all the

ups and downs of priesthood. . .

 

and he had seen all the

ups and downs that we humans go through

as individuals. . .

 

and as families.

 

And as I was about to ordained. . .

he gave me a piece of advice that

I have found to be

the best piece of advice I have ever received . . .

 

ever.

 

He said Steve,

“You have to stay close to the fire.”

 

“You have to stay close to the fire.”

 

What this wise priest was telling me

is something basic to our faith. . . .

 

It’s all about grace!

 

It’s all about grace!

 

We’re never in this alone!

 

The grace. . .

The help of God. . .

The love of God

is always there for us. . .

 

All we have to do is turn toward God. . .

and accept it.

 

All we have to do is stay close to the fire.

 

Stay close to our extended family. . .

Stay close to THE Holy Family.

 

Stay close to Jesus,

and receive the grace we need to

live out those divine attributes

that are so key to family life. . .

 

like bottomless love. . .

 

and unending forgiveness.

 

To stay close to the Blessed Mother

as she intercedes for us and our families. . .

 

that we can imitate her in her

total surrender to God’s grace.

 

that we can imitate her in her

total trust in God and her Son.

 

To stay close to Joseph,

as he intercedes for us and our families. . .

 

That we may imitate him

in having unshakable faith in God. . .

 

trusting that God can work through our fears. . .

and through our frailties. . .

and through our weaknesses.

 

So moms and dads. . .

you are not alone as you undertake

the most difficult job in the world.

 

You are not alone as you participate in

God’s breath-taking extended act creation

by raising a family.

 

It’s all connected to the Divine. . .

 

You’re part of an extended family. . .

The Holy Family. . .

Jesus. . .

Mary. . .

and Joseph’s family.

 

Stay close to the fire!!!

 

Holy Spirit 12/26-27/2020