The first Sunday after Christmas the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family.
The family, as Pope Emeritus Benedict put it is "the natural cradle" of human life. Our identiy as persons unfolds in and through our relation to others. While each of us is a unique, self-determining individual, created for her own sake, none of us is complete-in-herself. New persons are generated in a self-giivng, other receiving, union-and-communion-of-persons. We live out our lives in and among others. We fulfill ourselves by "a sincere gift of self" to others.
In the story and image of the Holy Family, we grasp the centrality of the family in the conception and fulfillment of personal existence.
1. We recognize the beauty and indispensable importantace of sexual complementarity for the procreation, protection and nuturing of life.
2. We grasp that the whole mission of parenthood is tender love and service to the next generation.
The Magnificat meditation for this feast includes the words from John Paul II:
The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family...The family is placed at the center of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love.