From the Pastor – December 26, 2010

They shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the LORD, and you shall be called “Frequented,” a city that is not forsaken. (Is. 62:11-1)

As we celebrate both Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Family this weekend, it is good to reflect upon our family lives, and to examine whether we’re being good family members. When we contemplate the Holy Family, we note the fact that when the God became man, He came as a little child within a family. That was a divine choice; Jesus could have chosen any way he wanted to manifest Himself.

God’s plan for redeeming the human race began in the family because the family is the cornerstone of society. In today’s modern world there are many unmarried people living together and many children born outside of wedlock. And this weakens our society. Marriage is part of God’s Divine Plan; it’s a source of stability and happiness for individuals, and it’s the bedrock for society. And families need to center their lives around Christ, just as Mary and Joseph did. If our families are centered on the television, the computer, sports, or work schedules, then we can get lost in the tiresome, temporal aspects of life, rather than have our eyes lifted to the eternal things of Heaven. Mary and Joseph were poor, but it didn’t matter, because they were centered on Christ. The family centered on Christ will be a family that prays together: “The family that prays together stays together,” as the Servant of God Fr. Patrick Peyton and Blessed Mother Teresa never tired of saying. It’s not enough for the members of the family to pray individually, they have to pray as a family at every chance they get.

My earliest childhood experiences were of praying the blessings before each meal, of kneeling down in the living room as my Mom and Dad led us in the Rosary, and of attending Mass together as a family. These were formative experiences that helped me to understand the “normality” of prayer and the importance of Jesus. And these experiences formed me in what Pope John Paul II called the “first seminary” – the domestic seminary of the family home.

 Christmas is a time when we naturally come together as a family to celebrate the holy days. Let it also be a time when we recommit ourselves to place Christ at the center of our families by praying together! We are called to be a holy people. Let’s begin by making our family holy!

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty