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THE GIFT OF FAMILY

Read­ing Time: 3 minutes

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Introduction

The feast of the holy fam­ily of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is part of the Christ­mas peri­od. The Gos­pel of this Sunday should be placed and read in the con­text of what Math­ew and Luke report about the birth of Jesus. The Gos­pel con­tin­ues to cla­ri­fy the iden­tity of Jesus which Mat­thew explains with the story of the vis­it of the angels and the flight into Egypt. With the Gos­pel of this Sunday and the story of the safety of the child Jesus, Mat­thew invites the read­er to reflect more on the iden­tity of Jesus.

The flight to Egypt

Now after Jesus was born in Beth­le­hem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East[1] came to Jer­u­s­alem, say­ing, where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to wor­ship him” (Matt 2:1–2). Con­cern­ing the star that guided these ancient sci­ent­ists, there has been con­sid­er­able spec­u­la­tion. While some sus­tain it was a curi­ous con­junc­tion of plan­ets, oth­ers take it to be a comet. These are pos­sible interpretations.

Family bond

Ordin­ar­ily, a bond is a con­nec­tion that fastens things togeth­er. In sci­ence, it is an elec­tric­al force link­ing atoms. In our con­text, a bond is a con­nec­tion based on kin­ship, mar­riage or com­mon interest. As a verb, bond means to bring togeth­er in a com­mon cause or emo­tion. There­fore, a fam­ily bond is a strong con­nec­tion between fam­ily mem­bers. Such con­nec­tion cre­ates a strong cohe­sion among mem­bers of the family.

Fam­ily cohe­sion has been defined as the emo­tion­al bond­ing that fam­ily mem­bers have toward one anoth­er.[2] Such fam­ily bond and cohe­sion pro­mote fam­ily sup­port and suc­cess. In this sense then, fam­ily bond or bond­ing is the intense attach­ment that devel­ops between par­ents and their chil­dren. It makes par­ents want to shower their chil­dren with love and affec­tion and to pro­tect and care for them. No doubt, par­ents’ respons­ive­ness (or lack of it) to a child’s sig­nals can affect the infant’s social and cog­nit­ive devel­op­ment. There was a strong bond between Mary, Joseph and their child Jesus. And such bond affected pos­it­ively the life of the child. Anoth­er reas­on this fam­ily is rightly described as holy fam­ily. In this fam­ily, God was the found­a­tion and the reas­on the mem­bers of this fam­ily lived. Mary who aban­doned her­self to the will of God (cf. Luke 1:38). Jesus who did everything pos­sible to pro­tect and save Mary and the child Jesus from danger (cf. Matt 2:13–15). And finally, Jesus him­self who did noth­ing but the will of God as wit­nessed in the Gospels.

Conclusion

The bond that exis­ted in the holy fam­ily is the kind of rela­tion­ship that should exit in every fam­ily. A fam­ily where fath­er, moth­er and chil­dren know their respect­ive roles and adhere to it without wait­ing to be reminded, rep­rim­anded or policed about. The chil­dren of this gen­er­a­tion have so much abused free­dom that they are now vic­tims of their own free­dom. Chris­ti­an fam­il­ies should use the occa­sion of the holy fam­ily Sunday to review and reflect on their vari­ous fam­il­ies. Make your fam­ily the best. Remem­ber, the best fam­ily is not neces­sar­ily the richest fam­ily. It is that fam­ily where each mem­ber of the fam­ily knows his or her respons­ib­il­ity and executes it. It is that fam­ily where God is the found­a­tion and the point of ref­er­ence for every activity.

Hold firm to your fam­ily bond. Rejoice for God loves you. And may God bless you and your fam­ily. Shalom!

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  1. Tra­di­tion gives their names as Mel­chi­or, Cas­par and Balthas­ar.
  2. Cf. Olsen-Rus­sell-Spren­kle, 1982.

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