Merry Christmas! Enjoy this Christmas season! I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas! I hope it was filled with joy and you were able to spend time with family one way or another. Truly, family is a gift that cannot be replaced with any material gift of any kind. The gift of time together, of being loved and of offering love is what it is all about.
As the new year approaches and as we celebrate the feast day of the Holy Family, I invite you to embrace this new year of St. Joseph our Pope is calling us to enter into. This past year the church celebrated the ‘Year of Grace,’ for indeed it was! What a year! But this coming year, we are invited to reflect on the life of St. Joseph and how he can better impact our spiritual lives.
Pope Francis said that the pandemic has heightened his desire to reflect on St. Joseph. As many people during the pandemic have made hidden sacrifices to protect and care for others, so too St. Joseph quietly protected and cared for Mary and Jesus. Pope Francis shares: “Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.” He stated further the importance St. Joseph’s example as a father who served his family with charity and humility is for our times...“Our world today needs fathers...every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.”
In the book of Sirach for the feast day of the Holy Family, we are called to honor our fathers, to pray for them, to revere them, to obey them, to take care of them, and continually offer kindness to them. As we celebrate the feast day of the Holy Family, we recall the gift of our spiritual mother, Mary. But don’t forget the gift of our spiritual father, Joseph. Don’t forget the gift of our biological fathers and grandfathers. Don’t forget the love they shared in their service and love for you. As we enter this new year, invite St. Joseph into your life in a new, real way. Allow him to walk with you in all things. On a practical level, consecrate your life to St. Joseph this year. Fr. Donald Calloway offers a beautiful book that will call you to turn to St. Joseph and enter into this spiritual father’s loving care. Perhaps you can make it your New Year’s Resolution!
May God’s peace and joy be with you and
Happy New Year!
Fr. Jeremy Merzweiler