30 December 2012
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Ok, here is an attempt to put into words something that I have thought about and dealt with for many years. First, however, I must mention that I am sitting here, writing this, eating home-made Cranberry Oatmeal cookies that were made and imported for me from New Mexico! I also sit here, just having spent a great time with some friends after a day of 3 masses, in three different cities (although Lenorah is more of a spot.) I'm playing Scramble with Friends and wearing a comfy pair of Green Bay Packer slippers that were gifted to me this Christmas. That said, I thought it would be good to sit and reflect on family. Today, we celebrated the feast of the Holy Family, and while the idea of the Holy Family is one which may fill us with joy and warmth, I kept thinking about the nitty gritty, I mean, come on, the baby was in a manger, I can only imagine what Mary must have been thinking and poor Joseph, what a mess! And yet, in all of that, we see how it is that God's plan seems to bring this simple and miraculous family through what appears to be a moment of high stress. Not only that, Jesus' wierd uncles arrive (the shepherds), the doting aunts are present too (the angels) and then the family from out of town shows up (you guessed it, the Magi.) In all of this, however, there is a thread of God that is woven into what would today seem like a complete and utter failure to plan ahead. But I digress, as I pray and sit with the Holy Family, there is something going on within me that is almost without words. As I think about this celebration today, I remember a question that my mother made to me many years ago when I had announced my intention to enter the seminary. After a moment of awkward silence, she asked if I was ready to "never have a family of my own." In my youthful ignorance, I quickly replied "yes," and that was that. Throughout the years, I have carried this question as I continued my journey through seminary, into vows, then diaconate, and priestly ordination and then onto my first assignment and others. It has been a question that is there but not always recognized, and yet, in moments such as today, I recall that almost haunting question. Back then, in my zeal to serve the Lord, I could care less about a family, after all, I would be doing God's work, who needed a family! Today, however, I am humbled at the glory of God as I sit and reflect on the many gifts that God has granted to me. As I sit here and eat my cookie, I am touched to think that just as God took care of that scene in the manger, and many many others after that, He too has been more than taking care of me through my journey. And although my house is quiet tonight as I sit here alone with my two dogs, without a family, I sit with the peace of knowing that while there is no wife and kids to fill this house, there are many many brothers, and sisters of mine all around the country, and maybe even the world. As I sit here and think on the blessings of family, I rest assured that family is not only the immediate group of people with whom I share a common bloodline, but rather, a group of people with whom I form the Body of Christ. My family, as God has blessed me, is composed of many different people, some closer to me than others, but all securely carried in my heart. To some I am a Father, to others a friend, to many I am Ricky but no matter what, I love them, and I love you. And so as I come to the end of this blessed and wonderful day, I write to share with you (not my cookies), but my thoughts, and my love. Thank you Lord for this, my family. May God bless you, and as I have said, remember that I love you. In Christ always, your Fr. Ricky.