Saturday, December 30, 2023

From Fr. Frank

We live in a culture that worships youth and being young….looking young. Countless people have, or dream of having, surgical procedures and injections to “erase” the look of age. On this Feast of the Holy Family let’s focus not on the young and youthfulness but on two individuals and in the gospel mentioned but seldom talked about: Simeon and Anna. Both are very old people, centering their lives on patient waiting for the arrival of the One to bring salvation to the world.

Two very old  people encounter the very epitome of youth: a baby!!! And they recognize this child to be the One!! A baby embraced by waiting old people who embraced Him and felt the balm of peace descend upon them, bringing them new life and a “youthfulness” rooted in wisdom, experience, prayer and tradition. NOW they can go in peace.

The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the many ways we are “family,” ways that defy biology. As we grow older and family members pass away, we find ourselves creating new ways of being family. In a touch of another irony, the most lonely people in our culture are the young and the old. Loneliness is an epidemic created by a loss of connection and family.

We need each other:  the young need the elderly to experience foundation and rootedness; the elderly need the young to widen horizons limited by the grieving that comes with saying so many goodbyes.
Family life is created by the Spirit the little child brought into this world at His birth: bringing together people, related or not, in a small community of love, easing the grip of loneliness, gathering around meals that nourish in many ways.
The “family” of the Church gathers us around the meal given to us by that child on His last day before being killed. Indeed, this meal of Eucharist makes us a beautiful “holy family.”