Dear Emmaus Family and Friends,
Christmas, the celebration of the entrance of Jesus, the Anointed One onto the world stage is celebrated by the church for weeks. The Christmas season ends with the feast of the Epiphany, this year on January 7th. We will continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus for two more Sundays.
This Sunday we celebrate The Feast of the Holy Family. Mary and Joseph provided for their son Jesus, as all parents do. We don't learn much about them through scripture. Perhaps the best measure of their parenting is the way their son turned out when he grew up. Jesus was a human just like us. In our Christian discipleship, I think that Jesus' humanness is often overshadowed by our belief in his divine character, his miracles and his resurrection.
Surely, like any of us, Jesus was shaped and supported by the love that he experienced in his family. We do see that love being demonstrated in a couple of the Gospel stories that speak of Mary's closeness to Jesus during his brief years of ministry.
The very concept of a nurturing family presents a model for our own lives. Following the revolutionary and disruptive message of Jesus' ministry and teaching, we are all called to become FAMILY to each other. That call is revolutionary because its' intention is to break down all the things that separate people from each other. In Jesus' ministry he reached out and touched many people who were "unclean", "unworthy", "sinners", "apostates" and even enemies of the Jewish faith.
The human family today is divided into multiple small factions that provide labels which override the humanity of people. If we take Jesus' prophetic ministry seriously, we will be called to learn how to reach beyond the walls that divide the human family and go about our own lives creating connections of respect and compassion rather than allowing our differences to divide us.
Wherever there is a wall built that divides one group of humans from another, there will be one side that chooses to be the "winner" and the people on the other side become losers. The winners attempt to dominate those they have labeled, to see the others as less than human so that it becomes acceptable and even desireable to treat them poorlyl
In our society today, there are many voices trying to divide us. May our faith in God's love for everyone inspire us to be the builders of bridges of compassion that heal the divides among us.
"A balanced and holistic worldview is formed from a non-dual way of thinking and is enlivened by mystical encounter with Presence, always leading to acts of service and charity in the world"
from A Spring Within Us by Richard Rohr