Church of Jesus Christ of the Universe
26 December 2021
Today we celebrate the Holy Family, and I would like to look at the clear indications given by the readings in the light of these feasts.
St. John the Apostle clearly explains the attitude of which Father Tomislav spoke on Saturday, and we have also been speaking about it for a few days: the dimension of Jesus within us, which transforms us in the Holy Spirit and awakens our identity and our mission. Towards the end, St. John says: “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
In the first reading, just as in the Gospel – perhaps not that of today but if we took Year B, it would be the same – the dimension of the family is highlighted: there is a father and a mother who offer their child to God. It is not a imaginary offer but a very concrete one. Hannah will take Samuel to the temple, but she only does it when the boy is ready. It reads: “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”
I think we can say that a mother only wants the good of her child. A mother cannot do anything that harms her child. Anna and Joachim did the same with Mary Most Holy; Mary and Joseph did the same with Jesus: they presented Him to the temple and left Him at that temple. It is interesting that in ancient times one apparently had to make an offering to God in order for him to accept it, such as a heifer or pigeons; as if the offering of one’s child was not enough for God, one had to make an additional offering to ask Him to accept it.
I think, indeed, we can be sure, that St. Anne, St. Joachim, Hannah, Samuel’s mother, Mary Most Holy and St. Joseph loved their children; thus, we can say that these families had understood that the act of giving to the Lord, of making an offering to the Lord, means the utmost good. They understood what our transition on Earth means and what it means to place God in the first place. They did not reason according to the world; they did not love their son according to the world. They did not passionately want their son to become a good engineer, to give them grandchildren or a beautiful family that lived all together, but they were interested in presenting the Face of the Lord to their son, leaving him to the Lord forever, and then let the Lord decide what would happen. Look, this is the attitude of a family that we want to show you. Today we speak about the Holy Family, but this applies to each of us. In every step that is taken forever, in every act made from the heart forever, God opens us to new events.
Consequently, the core is this: God’s will be done. If we look at Mary Most Holy and Samuel, who were left in the temple forever, we see that Samuel becamee a prophet, and what a prophet! God led Israel through Samuel for years until he anointed David, and he even went through the whole period in which the Judges were rejected. Mary Most Holy was taken to the temple at the age of three, and She was to become the Mother of God and our Mother. Later, Mary left the temple, but her parents had offered Her to the temple. Sorry, but I want to emphasize this act of giving without wanting to keep, calculate or think. Anna and Joachim could certainly not imagine that Mary Most Holy would become the Mother of God.
In his first letter, St. John says: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.”
He also reminds us of the passage I have read before, where he also confirms: “If we are faithful to his commandments”, and then he says which one it is: the only commandment. It is also important to understand these words of John: “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
Consequently, the commandment is this: believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other. Moreover, when Jesus left us, He added: “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.“
I want to return to the letter of St. John where he says: “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” Let us examine if our heart is reproaching us of something, but let us do it in the light of this commandment and ask ourselves: do we believe in His Son, and do we love one another? Anne and Joachim, Hannah and Elkanah offered their child to the temple to see if they loved their child. Their hearts did not reproach them of anything.
Let us see if we really have such love in our heart, not only for our children, but also for our brothers and sisters. Do we seriously love them, or do we always raise ifs and buts about them? Do we have thoughts like, “It is not right; he did this to me; he told me that; what he does is good or not good”? If we have this kind of thoughts, which God calls murmuring, our heart reproaches us, and thus we do not feel good. When our heart reproaches us, we lose our peace and harmony. When our heart reproaches us, we cannot live in this dimension: “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them”. We cannot say that we dwell in God when our heart reproaches us. If we do not dwell in God, God does not dwell in us. If God does not dwell in us, He does not give us the gift of the Holy Spirit. If He does not give us the Holy Spirit, we cannot say that we have intuitions that transform us; intuitions that come from Jesus. Thus, we cannot say that we are Jesus’ hands, His eyes, His ears, His word. It is really simple.
It is easier than looking at the Ten Commandments to see if we respect them all, because we will say anyway, “No, we cannot keep them all”. Remember what the Saints Peter and Paul said: “Do not worry about those who will be baptized in the grace of the Spirit, and do not impose on them the laws of Moses, laws that no one of our people has been able to respect, but only leave them under the law of grace.”
St. Paul told St. Peter to leave them under the law of grace, but the law of grace presumes that we love one another and believe that Jesus is the gift of Love of God the Father. Therefore, we must accept the love, forgiveness and mercy that is given to us, but we must accept it and not abuse it. When? When, after accepting that God forgives us everything, that He looks beyond our limits, that He does not remember our sins, that He forgives us even before we commit sin, we do the same to one another. Then our heart does not reproach us for anything. Otherwise, we are using double standards: we accept forgiveness, but we are unable to give it, or we can give it but cannot accept it. I am clearly not talking about God’s forgiveness but about human forgiveness.
Once again, the only commandment is following God with simplicity, following the action of God, who has truly thought of everything. Yesterday, I emphasized that He only asks us to have faith. Today I add that, besides faith, He also asks us to love, to let ourselves be loved and love.
These are the readings, which have been chosen for the day dedicated to the Holy Family, to parents who offer their children. I think that today it would be good to meditate on the message that St. Joseph gave us a few years ago, in which he spoke about family. Come to this inner opening. Look, these are simple things, but they open up a dimension in which nothing can be fit into a scheme, in which the Holy Spirit will guide us, and we will realise another piece of new creation.
May the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus accompany us now that their presence and action are so strong and help us understand the depth of these words, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 See Readings of the Feast of the Holy Family, Year C: First Reading: 1 Sam 1,20-22; Second Reading: 1John 3,1-2.21-24: Gospel: Luke 2,41-52
 See Second Reading in footnote 1
 See First Reading in footnote 1
 See 1 Sam
 See 1John 3,23
 See Footnote 6
 See John 15,12-13
 See 1 John 3,21
 See Second Reading in footnote 1
 See Acts 15,1-15 paraphrased
 See Message of St. Joseph of December 30, 2016 “Be Members and Guardians of the People of God”, published on our website