Today is the feast day of the Holy Family – an important day to reflect on the role of Catholic Fathers. Today’s gospel reading ( Matthew 2: 13 – 23) reminds us of the role of St. Joseph in the Christmas story.

Joseph was responsible for the well being of the baby Jesus and the Blessed Mother. The story tells us of how he was visited by Angels in dreams telling him to take the family to Egypt and to return. We are all very familiar with this story and it is easy to put this story in the seeming serenity of the nativity setting at Christmas. In reality, Joseph had just brought his pregnant wife a long distance to comply with the census only to watch her give birth in a stable without the help of family or the comforts of home. To be told at that time that he must take his family to Egypt because the King wanted to have the baby Jesus killed would be anything but serene. Joseph’s listening and his faith in God helped to make the entire ministry of Jesus, and the new covenant possible. As a father, I think it is important to reflect at Christmas time on the (often overlooked) role and awesome responsibility of St. Joseph. It should inspire to all fathers.

I wanted to share a part of the message from the homily from my Mass this weekend. The priest, speaking to fathers encouraged us to look hard at our families and evaluate how we are doing at leading them to God. He told us that there are 3 markers that you can generally use to gauge. They are:

  • Closeness to God
  • Closeness to one another
  • Closeness to people and community

A family healthy in its faith usually is strong in each of these. Some are strong in only 2 or even 1 of these. An assessment of our own families in these three areas can be very helpful in helping to direct our attention to lead the family to a better place and to guide our families according to God’s will.

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