Today we focus on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

There was respect and mutual love between them.  There were also challenges as Simeon predicted.

Like many mothers, Mary was going to suffer because of what her Son had to endure.

We also reflect on our own family.  Families can take many forms and shapes.

The ideal place where a child can best grow, is where there is the influence and connection with a father and a mother.  The physco-sexual development of a child points to this being the ideal place for a child to grow.

For many reasons, the reality is that the ideal does not always happen.  I am full of admiration for parents who have to bring up their child on their own.

Whatever shape families take, mutual respect needs to be key.

In our fast-moving lives, time can be a rare commodity.

Parents are often stretched is so many directions. Working, housekeeping, school, and a multitude of other activities, all compete for attention.

We are called to never give up trying to make time for family connection, playing together, talking and listening to each other, praying together, etc.

There is also the family of the Church.  Like in any family there are times when we disagree with each other.

There are different spiritualities, different emphasis, but one faith, one Lord Jesus Christ.

Respect is so essential for the Church to be the Church that Jesus wants us to be.

‘May they be one Father as You and I are one.’

There is also the family of humanity.  God loves all people.  He wants the world to be saved from hatred, division, injustice, war, sub-human living conditions.  As Christians we are called to serve the Kingdom of God.  We are called to be leaven in the midst of humanity.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph must have had their challenges, e.g. when they had to flee to Egypt as refugees, and when Herod tried to kill Jesus.  When Jesus was left behind in Jerusalem at the age of twelve.

We all have our moments of challenge, but we also hope that God is always with us.We are never

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