Just a couple of days after Christmas we had two “family” celebrations. The first was Holy Family Sunday, when we enjoyed a visit for Mass from Cardinal Donald Wuerl. The Cardinal shared the text of his homily with us so that we could share it with you.
The next day we had a Christmas Carnival with fun games and festive refreshments. This brought together Residents, staff, volunteers of all ages and our Little Sisters. We share photos of our winter games, where everyone was a winner!
Homily of Cardinal Wuerl for the feast of the Holy Family
All of us keep photos of family and loved ones. They help us in some way to keep them present to our hearts and minds.
It is for the same reason that we celebrate every Christmas the story and realization of God’s love among us. The Church invites us each year to remember the birth of Jesus and what that means for each of us today.
Every year for nearly two millennia the Church calls us to celebrate the birth of Jesus so that we do not forget, do not lose sight of the important blessing of knowing God has come among us – that God is with us.
The tag line for our Christmas season celebration might very well be “Lest we forget, how much God loves us.” Before there were photos and the ever present cell phone and IPhone capability of snapping a picture of everything, the Church’s liturgy was used to remember and re-tell the story of our salvation.
Today we commemorate the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and are reminded of how God has come to dwell with us and that that dwelling takes place within the human family and an identifiable particular family. It is precisely today that we recognize and remember the importance of each family.
What is it that we might otherwise forget? What is it that brings us to Mass, to this Church, to this altar lest we forget? Christmas is summed up in one word love. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son.
At the heart of Christmas season is the recognition that God is truly with us. God has come into our world, and by making a gift of himself, revealing himself in the humility of a manger, God offers us a living, personal relationship.
As we grow older we recognize – as we hold onto fewer tangible things – just how precious is our relationship with God.
But there is even more. The Word became flesh, the Christ child was born in Bethlehem in order to share our human experience and life so that we might share his divine life.
Very shortly in the celebration of Mass we will hear the words: “In the wonder of the Incarnation…we see our God made visible and so are caught up in the love of the God we cannot see.”
In preparation for this celebration we prayed, “May we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our human nature.”
In the Christmas manger heaven and earth met. To the extent that you and I open our hearts to the grace of God, God’s love, the Holy Spirit of God’s love tothat extent heaven and earth once again meet in us – in each of us.
We celebrate the Christmas season lest we forget that Jesus offers us a whole new way of living and being. Lest we forget that we are invited by Jesus into God’s family and actually become adopted brothers and sisters. Lest we forget the goodness of God. Lest we forget the love of God in our lives every day.
We come so that we might remember the presence of Jesus in a very unique and special way – in the Eucharist. The great remembrance that Jesus left us is his own Body and Blood made present to us over and over again in the unique Sacrifice of the Mass. In fact, Jesus’ command to his Apostles was, “Do this in memory of me.” We do this lest we forget.
Today as we celebrate the Holy Family and approach the altar, we can open our hearts in thanksgiving to God.
May this season of Christmas – the celebration of the Holy Family – be a time of peace and joy, knowing we are loved by God.
Our winer-inspired games included everything from “snow blowing” to ski racing!