Feast of the Holy Family
Sirach 3:2-6; 12-14 – Col 3:12-21 – Mt 2:13-15; 19-23
As is appropriate for this particular feast, the readings focus on essential qualities for maintaining a healthy and happy family life. This is true whether we’re speaking of the “domestic church” or the entire Body of Christ.
Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Respect – in particular, among the generations – and Gratitude. Any community whose relationships within and without are characterized by these qualities is sure to be a source of a deep abiding Love for all of its’ members and for all who pass by.
What captures my imagination most, however, is a phrase St.Paul uses in his letter to the Colossians: “the peace of Christ.” Not peace in an abstract way, nor even in the deep sense of harmony and right relationship indicated by the Jewish “shalom”. Rather, a unique kind of peace that can only be found in the presence of the risen Christ by those who have surrendered to Him.
The “peace of Christ” can’t really be defined, but must be lived. It’s an ever growing awareness that our individual existences are grounded in a much fuller experience of Being and that this fuller experience of Being is at its’ core pure and infinite Love.
There is truly nothing to fear. There is no lie which can sustain itself amidst such immense good and no truth which will not find an everlasting home.
The peace of Christ is the peace of knowing that not one of God’s precious ones will be lost. We can give ourselves away with wreckless abandon because what is essential to one’s identity is eternal and inexhaustible.
My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you experience more completely the peace of Christ. Merry Christmas!
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(To find my book length reflections on the scriptures, go to www.twentythirdpublications.com)