Sunday, January 9, 2011

Feast of the Holy Family, Jeus, Mary, and Joseph (First Sunday After the Epiphany)

On this day the Church invites us to contemplate the mystery of Jesus' humble, hidden life.  A feeling of close intimacy and tenderness characterizes this Feast and is expressed in the liturgy of the day:  " . . . it is good for us to recall the little home at Nazareth and the humble life of those who lived there . . .  In it, Jesus learned Joseph's humble trade, and grew in age, and was happy sharing the work of a carpenter: 'Let the sweat,' He seemed to say, 'trickle over My limbs before they are drenched with the torrent of My Blood, and the pain of this labor shall go to atone for the sins of men!'"  Let us enter the little house; in the presence of such humility, which conceals Jesus' infinite Majesty, let us repeat the words of the sacred text: "Thou art indeed a hidden King, O God the Savior, King of Israel." 

Today's liturgy particularly emphasizes one typical aspect of the humble life of this hidden God:  obedience.  "Although He was the Son of God . . . He learned to obey; He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death."  From Bethlehem to Calvary obedience was His companion.  Luke's Gospel stresses this obedience of Jesus at Nazareth in words which carry for all time the strength of their first utterance, "He was subject to them."  Let us ask ourselves with St. Bernard, "Who obeyed?  Whom did He obey?  The Saint replies, "God obeyed man!  Yes, the God to whom the angels are subject . . . was subject to Mary, and not only Mary, but also to Joseph.  For God to obey a woman is humility without parallel . . . Learn then, man, to obey; learn, O earth, to be submissive.  God subjected Himself to men; and do you, desiring to rule others, place yourself above your Creator?"

From Divine Intimacy, by Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

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