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The Real Holy Family!

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This time of year young children in school make snowflake cutouts and post them on classroom and hallway walls. Snowflakes have always been seen as wonderful symbols of purity, symmetry and perfection. 

             But studies have been conducted with microscopic three-dimensional images of snowflakes that show us that snowflakes are very imperfect crystals with points that are missing along with frozen appendages. 

             The thought of imperfect snowflakes lingers with me as I ponder today’s Feast of the Holy Family. Images of the Holy Family are our idealized image of snowflakes – perfect, pure and idyllic. Mary is always sewing something or has a smiling Baby Jesus in her arms. Joseph has a lily in one hand and a carpenter’s tool in the other. And the boy Jesus is looking up to his parents, eagerly awaiting to obey their next command.

              But when we put the four Gospels under a microscope, we get a more real and a more reassuring image. In today’s Gospel (Luke 2: 41-52). Mary and Joseph desperately search for a twelve-year old Jesus who has a mind of his own and stays on in the temple in Jerusalem. 

            We are not perfect snowflake families. Even the Holy Family had its ups and downs.  The Holy Family lived through the most trying of times and things often got unraveled. Today’s Feast celebrates families, yours, mine and the Holy Family….Not always perfect, but always striving to be loving. 

When YOU look beyond the imperfections of YOUR family, what is it that YOU see?


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