Today we recognize the gift of the Holy Family, both the respect and love they have for each other, and their respect for their religious law. Jesus as a vulnerable child is presented to God in the temple. In all humility and simplicity, Jesus became human that we might learn how to live as God calls us to live. We learn in today’s gospel that the Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died, and Simeon heard and trusted in God’s word. Many of the important figures in the Old Testament heard God’s word spoken to them and with faith and trust followed it. We too, both individually and in community are asked to listen, to hear and to follow the word of God in our lives.
Family is often our first example of community living, and the Holy Family presents us with a model to imitate. Even though they are “the Holy Family” we know that all was not perfect in their lives; thus can we look to them as models for our own lives. They taught us about faith, trust, charity and humility; Jesus learned from living with Joseph and Mary. In his public ministry, Jesus taught us more about these virtues as he ministered to the people he met in the various towns he visited. His apostles and many disciples learned by his example, as we are called to do today.
We also mark the ending of another year and tomorrow brings a new beginning. Among my New Year’s resolutions, perhaps I could include deeply listening to God’s word and truly hearing what is being said to me. I, too, may wish to ask for a deepening of God’s grace that I may grow in faith, trust, charity and humility as Jesus did throughout his life. May the favor of God rest upon each of us in the coming year.
Also of note: It was on this date, Dec. 31, 1846, that the original thirty-three Sisters of Charity of New York gathered in St. Patrick’s, Mott Street, to elect the first Mother General of the new community. Mother Elizabeth Boyle was the one chosen. She was a woman of great faith, trust, charity and humility. She guided the community through its difficult beginning years with wisdom and God’s grace. She is a wonderful model of what God asks each of us to become.
—Sr. Maryellen Blumlein, SC
Sister Maryellen, a former elementary and high school teacher and Archive Manager for the Congregation, is currently an adjunct professor of English at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.