20151227 - The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

posted Dec 22, 2015, 1:22 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated Sep 9, 2016, 9:36 PM ]

Gospel of Luke 2: 41-52

Ali's Reflection

When I reflect on the Gospel, I ask myself two questions: Who do I consider to be my family? and How do I know that I am a member of my family?

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take part in helping provide a unique experience for the students of our Confirmation program at their retreat in Scotts Valley, Missions Springs. Each year, I always come away feeling this bittersweet memory of the retreat experience soon after we leave that special place, and this year was no different. I know that it has a lot to do with the chance to share stories with our young faith community and to break bread with them in an intimate and real way. There is something so awesome about the opportunities that lend themselves to allowing our young people to open up about their experiences and connect with their peers as well as their trusted guides at this retreat. I think that what the youth got a chance to experience that weekend was no different than what Jesus had to do when he was away from his parents.

Sometimes a retreat away from the world that we are accustomed to—the world of our close friends and families—is necessary for us to grow even stronger to discover more about ourselves, and once reunited with our worlds, we are able to strengthen the bonds that are developed with our loved ones.

So, in response to the questions I asked, well, I think they were answered, yet again, in the experience of that retreat. My family, for me, is not only my immediate family members, but the family of faithful brothers and sisters who believe in and follow our Father. I know that I am a member of my family because despite our own unique journeys, each person in my family shares with me a struggle that is similar, because it is deep, personal, and impacts me just by the mere fact that someone has opened themselves up to sharing their pain with me, for as St. Paul wrote, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it”.

We are reminded this time of year, more than any, to live out the message that God gives us about how to be Christ for one another and especially with our families. He challenges us to share not just our material gifts, but the gifts of time, patience, and love. He gives us every opportunity to reach out to other members of our family, through acts of service, generosity, and story sharing. My hope is that this season of Advent urges many more opportunities like those experienced at the Confirmation retreat—opportunities for understanding and growth, as well as opportunities for giving of kind words, charity, or merely just the presence of listening to another person’s struggles and joys.

Kristenne's Reflection

Understanding. This is the word that comes out to me in this week's Gospel. Not only because it's a theme throughout the reading, but it shows up more than once in the text.

When Jesus is talking amongst the teachers of the church, they are amazed at his understanding of religious teachings, especially for one so young. Conversely, when Mary and Joseph find him, they can't understand why he is there when they were worried looking for him and why he responds with "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

As young people of the church, we can often be judged by the way we practice our faith and live our lives as Christians. If one young person dresses a certain way, it would be generalized that all youth dress inappropriately. Or others might say that we are too young to understand the traditions of the church. And even when we aren't in the church, it can feel like no one understands us. Not even our own family.

But just as Jesus was so young when knew his calling, we too are called to serve the Lord no matter what age.

Some of us might stay at little bit longer after school to build a class float. Or spend sometime studying with a classmate who just doesn't understand the homework. Maybe some people come early to practice to make sure you get the shot just right. Or maybe you spend extra time before mass to reflect on the gospel. With that extra effort, that passion (and sometimes craziness) we show living out our faith at youth rallies and such, they mean something even if no one understands it.

I am very blessed to be part of a parish that encourages youth to be a part of the church actively. I've seen us do wonderful things. Raising money for charities, feeding the poor, giving back to our communities. We don't need to wait to be older to do good things, we are the young church of today. So how are you answering your call? And what are you doing to help others understand theirs?