By Deacon Jim Krupka
Jesus lived his human life in a modest family. For the most part, they did not stand out. They were not destitute nor affluent. As a carpenter’s family, they would have been in the mainstream of Mediterranean society. Most of us are in the same boat, taking on life day-by-day in a community. Pope Francis recognizes that in his On Love in the Family message. He reminds us that Jesus knew the anxieties and tensions that families face. As we read the Gospel, we need to understand that Jesus was speaking from a genuinely human platform. He was in a family like us in more ways than not.
As Jesus came as the Word made Flesh in a family that could easily have been a Molokai family, his parables and teachings have a reality that we can use. Jesus knew about the need to work to make a living. He knew the worry that comes with threats to safety and home. At some time, he knew the loss of a parent as Joseph was gone by the time Jesus began his ministry. With that human background, we get the Lord’s law of love and the example of the gift of self. Scripture writers look to the family to give us an idea of what love means. In numerous places (Ex 4:22; Is 49:15; Ps 27:10, to name a few), we find a balance of dependence and tenderness. The image of our loving God holding us in his arms is one of the most comforting that I know.
Pope Francis carries these images into a Trinitarian picture of the family built upon man and woman united with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to accomplish the creative work of bringing and raising children in this world. This all happens in our holy family, the domestic church, within our home. In some of our most troubling times, we have a chance to contemplate how much we have in common with the family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. In those times, we can store what we see in our hearts just like our Blessed Mother.