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Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family - the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. But it is also the feast of our own families, and just as important, our family right here - the church. 

Our readings today give us different glimpses into what family is and how it works.

In our first reading, Hannah conceived and then dedicated her first born son to God, leaving him there in the temple to be raised. She kept her promise to God, and she understood that her child was a gift, that in fact, all children are a gift from God.

The second reading from the First Letter of John tells us that although we are all many people from many different families, we are all God's children because of God's love for us. We are one family.

In the Gospel we hear that Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing. After several days they found him, reprimanded him, head back home, and he was obedient to them.

On a personal note, if that had been me, I would have had more than a reprimand! LOL 

Three very different snippets of family. But they are each represented right here with us today.

We are able to love God and one another, because He loved us first. We are His children. We are brothers and sisters because of that love. How do we in turn express that love? By loving others. Not just those that believe the way we believe, or think the way we think. We are to love each and every person.

We are called to be family for those that have no family, friends to those who have no friends.

We are to be Christ to all people, and to see Christ in each and every person. We are to bring that love and fellowship to everyone.

Families are not perfect. They are made up of individual people with their own history, feelings, and insecurities, and sometimes we hurt each other. When that happens, we have to be mature enough to be able to say, "I'm sorry," and then make it right. As we see in the Gospel: Jesus went home and was obedient to his parents.

This feast today represents the entire human family- the individual family unit, the church family, and our world family (yes, every human being on the planet).

As we prepare to close out the year and enter the new, how will you take family with you into the world?