Just yesterday we celebrated the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ and today we are jumping ahead twelve years.  Jesus is now a twelve-year-old and in the Jewish faith that is the age when all males begin to learn and observe the laws and traditions of the Jewish faith… So, Mary and Joseph take Jesus with them when they go to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover.

The gospel for today takes us through the events of their visit to Jerusalem:  Jesus becoming lost, His parents searching for Him for three days, they’re finally finding Him in the temple, their great relief and surprise when Jesus tells them that He had to be at home in His Father’s house discussing the law and the prophets with the elders of the temple.

Afterwards Jesus returns to Nazareth with His parents and we are told that Jesus grew in age, wisdom, and grace.

Family life has always been treasured as the most important part of society.  One thing we have all become conscious of is that a lot about family life has changed over the years.  Very often we hear of someone saying that they wish we were back twenty or more years ago because life was much slower and quieter then.  If that is true go back forty or fifty years when life, family life and most of society was not only quieter but closer to one another than it is today.

All too often we hear on the evening news or read in the paper of another teenager who is missing.  So often he or she has ‘taken off’ because of some family difficulty, a tough family situation, abuse, or neglect.  There are all kinds of reasons for these unhappy situations and far too many in comparison with years past. 

Family life is going through a difficult time too.  Perhaps one of the solutions might well be found in the Father’s House (church).  I mean both within the building of our churches but also in the realm of community life of which church certainly has an important role to play.

I would like to give a strong word of encouragement to our parents.  Keep prayer in the family alive and strong.  Don’t presume that your kids get too old to want to say grace before meals and so on.  And what about Sunday Mass?  All too often I hear the comment from parents that goes, ‘well my son/daughter doesn’t want to go to church anymore and I’m not going to fight with them.’  Don’t accept that and remember that your own example is of greatest importance.  All too often I’ve heard of youngsters saying, ‘my parents don’t go to church why should I?

You know, there is more power in prayer than we can ever imagine.  So, please pray fervently for your own family, the families of your relatives and friends.  Pray too for any families you know are in a difficult situation.  Try to be supportive when you can.

May you all continue to enjoy this beautiful Christmas season.

Fr. Walt