Bulletin (December 26, 2004)

On behalf of Fr. Ramon, Deacon Ted, Deacon Abel, Tom Weber, Steve Morissette and all the members of Holy Family staff, I want to wish each one of a Blessed Christmas. St. Athanasius, a Christian writer from the fourth century, had this reflection on the meaning of Jesus’ Incarnation:

When the figure of someone has been painted on wood, then effaced by external elements, we need the presence of the one whose portrait it was if we wish to restore that person’s image on the same material. And if this material is not discarded, it is because of the image painted on it which e wish to restore. In like manner, the most Holy Son of the Father, being the image of the Father, has come into our land to renew who had been made similar to him and to seek us when we had been lost, pardoning our sins, as Scripture states: “I have come to search out and save what was lost.”

This year Christmas melds very rapidly into the celebration of parish patronal feast – the Holy Family. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on what it means to be family and our relationship with the family par excellence – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Our own families of course do not measure up to that ideal, as the cartoon humorously illustrates. Building family is at once the greatest joy and the greatest challenge most people face. We need the help of intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Speaking of the challenge of family, the famous English novelist and journalist, G. K. Chesterton made this reflection:

“The modern writers who have suggested, in a more or less open manner, that the family is a bad institution, have generally confined themselves to suggesting, with much sharpness, bitterness, or pathos, that perhaps the family is not always very congenial. Of course the family is a good institution because it is uncongenial. It is wholesome precisely because it contains so many divergencies and varieties. It is, as the sentimentalists say, like a little kingdom, and, like most other little kingdoms, is generally in a state of something resembling anarchy. It is exactly because our brother George is not interested in our religious difficulties, but is interested in the Trocadero Restaurant, that the family has some of the bracing qualities of the commonwealth. It is precisely because our uncle Henry does not approve of the theatrical ambitions of our sister Sarah that the family is like humanity. The men and women who, for good reasons and bad, revolt against the family, are, for good reasons and bad, simply revolting against mankind. Aunt Elizabeth is unreasonable, like mankind. Papa is excitable, like mankind. Our youngest brother is mischievous, like mankind. Grandpapa is stupid, like the world; he is old, like the world.

“Those who wish, rightly or wrongly, to step out of all this, do definitely wish to step into a narrower world. They are dismayed and terrified by the largeness and variety of the family. Sarah wishes to find a world wholly consisting of private theatricals; George wishes to think the Trocadero a cosmos. I do not say, for a moment, that the flight to this narrower life may not be the right thing for the individual, any more than I say the same thing about flight into a monastery. But I do say that anything is bad and artificial which tends to make these people succumb to the strange delusion that they are stepping into a world which is actually larger and more varied than their own. The best way that a man could test his readiness to encounter the common variety of mankind would be to climb down a chimney into any house at random, and get on as well as possible with the people inside. And that is essentially what each one of us did on the day that he was born.”

Did you see the picture of the “World's Tiniest Baby”? She weighed 8.6 ounces when she was delivered Sept. 19. According to the doctors at Chicago’s Loyola University Medical Center she now weighs 2 pounds and 10 ounces. What a gift is each human life, no matter how tiny! As we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, may we and our society cherish and protect every human being from conception to natural death.

Finally, an invitation for New Year’s Eve: Bring in the New Year by joining in the celebration of the Eucharist. We will have a bilingual New Year’s Eve Mass this Friday (December 31) at 11 p.m. On New Year’s Day (which is the Feast of Mary the Mother of God and World Day of Prayer for Peace) Mass in English will be celebrated at 10 a.m. The Feast of Epiphany begins that Saturday evening (January 1) with English Vigil Mass at the normal time – 5 p.m. Also the Masses on Sunday morning will be at the regular hours of 8 and 11 a.m.