The Feast of the Holy Family 12 January A.D. 2020
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Ordinary of the Mass
Today's Mass text - Latin
Today's Mass text - English
Today is the feast of the Holy
Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Gospel finds them making the
annual pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem to observe the feast of
Passover. Jews who lived within Israel were required to make this
pilgrimage three times each year, for Passover, Pentecost, and Sukkot—Sukkot
being the harvest feast in late September or October. Attendance at
these festivals is another example of the Holy Family's obedience to the
Law of Moses. The journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem extends about
seventy miles—a lot of which was through the hills. There were no
Interstate Highways in those days, but even on a paved highway, seventy
miles has to take a few days. Even if they owned a donkey or two, they
probably didn't ride it, as these were generally pack animals. If you
are ever tempted to complain about how far you have drive to get to Holy
Mass, just think about the journey of the Holy Family!
This feast day is relatively new,
being instituted as late as 1892 by the saintly Pope Leo XIII. Leo
lived at the tail end of the first industrial revolution—a period of
time in which steam power revolutionized the production and
transportation of goods. Mankind became much more productive, but at the
cost of the disruption of the rural life that bound families closely
together—the life where every member shared in the agricultural
production, the making of cloth, and the production of hard goods in
little private shops. Taking a job in the newly industrialized cities
often required separation of family members. Even if they lived
together, they often worked apart and had to keep different schedules.
Small dwellings made life tense, and were conducive to immoral practices
of birth limitation.
In his Apostolic Letter, Néminem
fugit, Leo urged us to model our families after the Holy Family, and
to model ourselves after the appropriate person in that Family—children
after the young Jesus, husband's after Joseph, and wives after Mary.
The Holy Family should be a reassurance for those of little wealth, and
also a model for those in high social condition to respect those of
Leo wrote his Apostolic Letter about
130 years ago, and family life has suffered greatly over those years.
In Leo's time, people tried to keep their extended families together,
even if they lived in a city. (Even when I was a boy, several branches
of my father's family lived in the same apartment house in New York
City—there were even a few families that were not relatives but came
from the same town in Italy. There was always a relative or two to help
out when necessary—someone could always stay with the sick children or
make sure that the well children all got to school. There was always a
cozy feeling of strength in numbers.). But in today's world, it isn't
uncommon for adult family members to live thousands of miles
apart—telephones and jet travel do not make up for that separation.
Our society has lost its moral
compass. Politicians brag of their ability to buy favors with public
funds. They buy power and influence by taxing the “haves” to give “free
stuff” to the “have nots.” Their socialist delusion extends far beyond
human necessities to a right to free art, free entertainment, free
medical care, and free education. They fail to recognize any of these
things for the theft that they are! Theft and a coveting of your
Marital morality has sunk to new
lows. People are ostracized not only for condemning immorality, but
increasingly for not practicing immorality! Numbers of people claim not
to know whether they are men or women or something in between—and feel
that they have a right to have others support their delusion—people
actually get fired from their jobs and lose lawsuits because they “used
the wrong pronouns”! ! !
Drug overdoses and suicide are
catching up with cancer as leading causes of death.
In spite of advancements in treating things like heart disease and
cancer, the average American lifespan has been shrinking
during the past few years!
In Pope Leo’s time no one could have
predicted that all of these societal ills would find their way into the
Church! But the Modernism condemned by Pope Pius X has made significant
inroads. Hopefully, the Modernists are still in the minority, but they
are strong enough to do great damage. There are cocaine fueled orgies
in Vatican owned apartments.
Millions (maybe even billions) of dollars have been paid to abuse
Socialism was condemned by the very same Pope Leo XIII—“socialism,
community of goods, must be utterly rejected….” He said—but today it is
preached from the pulpit as though it was s divine ordinance.
Classroom sex education, forbidden by at least two popes, has become a
“must have,” even in “Catholic” schools.
Capital criminals must now be tolerated, changes in the weather must now
be acknowledged as personal sins, as must the use of disposable plastic
drinking straws. No doubt, with a lot of time to spare, this could have
been a more impressive list.
There are, of course, pockets of
resistance. A number of groups like our own have formed to preserve the
traditional Mass and Catholic teaching. Worldwide, the Mass and
Catholic tradition seem to be enjoying a resurgence. Yet, not all the
participants are in close agreement with each other as to what must be
done, and how to do it.
I would suggest that the Holy Family
represents the one unifying principle that all true Catholics can agree
upon. Our churches must resemble that holy house in Nazareth. Our men
and our women must be like Joseph and Mary in our concern for the Son of
God. We must become more dedicated to Him in our prayer life. The
Rosary is an ideal vehicle, for in just fifteen decades, we can join our
Lord in the major events of His existence on Earth. Pray the Rosary
I would also encourage greater
devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. One cannot get any closer to Jesus
than he gets in the Holy Sacrament of the altar. Come to Mass as often
as you can!
As Pope Leo tells us:
<< No one can doubt that in this
Holy Family was displayed every virtue which can be called forth by an
ordinary home life, with its mutual services of charity, its holy
intercourse, and its practices of godly piety, since the Holy Family was
destined to be a pattern to all others. For that very reason was it
established by the merciful designs of Providence, namely, that every
Christian, in every walk of life and in every place, might easily, if he
would but give heed to it, have before him a motive and a pattern for
the good life. >>