Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
“Family.” What an amazing word. Today we add the adjective “holy.” The Holy Family.

I grew up in Holy Family parish in North Miami. The first Mass in Holy Family was celebrated in 1950 on the same weekend that we moved into our new house. Mom lived in that house for another 42 years.

Holy Family ‘encapsulated’ us. As I look back, in many ways our parish was a special ‘terrarium’ that called our family to grow into ‘holy’. In a house with seven kids, some days holiness seemed a distant hill. Still, we had our parents and a very loving ‘Gram.’ That increased the odds of holiness happening.

holyfamilyWhy do you suppose the Church gives us the feast of the Holy Family on the very first Sunday after we celebrate Christ’s birth?

At the risk of stating the obvious, family was the only way that Jesus could be born into the world and groomed for his mission. The loving arms of his mother and father bore him with “love unutterable.” Jesus was delivered to his calling by parents who helped him grow “in age, wisdom and grace.”

The word familiar has its roots in ‘family.’ The familiar things in our lives comfort us... Whether it’s walking into a room of strangers and recogniz¬ing a face, or wandering through an old photo album and remembering a special smile, a salesperson who recognizes you and even calls you by name, or revisiting an old neighborhood and recognizing a special tree you climbed as a kid... all those moments of connecting, moments of ‘comfort’ that move us along on the next steps in our journeys.

Some of us have been ‘journeying’ for quite a while. Perhaps we can be permitted the luxury of reminiscing. We have accumulated many ‘familiar’ experiences, things that comfort us or sometimes threaten us, or sadden us.

Yet even the memories that were not so good threaten us less precisely because we realize we’ve come though this or that challenge. As the challenges become ‘familiar,’ they no longer ‘discomfort’ as they did originally. Is that the “wisdom” Jesus grew into, a wisdom for us?

So many ‘familiars,’ so many families... Perhaps I’m being too Irish again, but I could almost feel a little guilty for all the good ‘families’ I have had, and still have.
I’m not going to be guilty about that. I’m going to be grateful.

Once again, our bulletin deadlines have me writing this reflection on December 15th. We have come up with a new arrangement with our provider so that as of 2021 we will print inhouse on their shell. That’s going to let us be very current.

I tell you this because I know Annie and Patricio and our volunteer staffers, especially Judy Fisher, are (will be) very grateful for the kindnesses so many of you have shown us over the holidays. Talk about family!

Sometimes I want to bark at the TV when I hear another talking head say, “We are all in this together.” I want to yell back, “Tell me something I don’t know!”

Then, usually a quieter sanity resumes its place in my heart, and I really thank God for all the folk who constitute my “together,” my familiars, my family! That’s especially all of you.

Here’s to patient perseverance and a healthy 2021. We clink our glasses familiarly,

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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