[COLUMN] The gift of family

A warm Christmas greeting to you and your families! I hope you’re enjoying the Christmas season and keeping yourselves in good health.

This Sunday’s Feast of the Holy Family falls immediately the day after Christmas. And so it may serve us best to see the importance of faith-filled and loving families like that of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, especially this weekend as our families still gather together.

Our families, big or small, are gifts of God, especially when they fill us with love and affection. They are our shelter and joy in moments of solitude, our strength in moments of sickness and death.

No family is perfect; all families continue to struggle and grow. It’s what Pope Francis mentioned in his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love): “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love.”

Here at Incarnation, we are committed to supporting our families in every way possible through our school, religious education, sacrament, liturgies, and outreach programs. We understand that families face many challenges today. As Pope Francis says, the family is “a new mission field for the Church.”

We consider the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to be our model of holiness, faith, faithfulness and courage. We understand the crucial importance of regular family prayer in winning God’s grace for strength, love, joy and unity in the home.

As Pope Francis said:

“The family is alive if it is united in prayer. The family is strong if it rediscovers the Word of God and the providential value of all its promises. The family is generous and builds history if it remains open to life, if it does not discriminate and serves the most fragile and needy, if it does not stop offering the world the bread of charity and the wine of fraternity.”

On this Feast of the Holy Family, let us invite Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to be in our midst so that, like them, our families would grow strong in faith, love, hope, peace, and joy!

Be assured that I pray for you every day and that I thank God for being part of our large family: Parish of the Incarnation!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

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