Today’s official name is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
That’s a mouthful, so folks around here generally call it Holy Family Sunday.
There’s a lot to say about all three, but I’ll leave nearly all of that for another day. Just the first two verses from Luke are more than enough for a post:
“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
“just as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,'”
I suspect our Lord’s distressing habit of treating “sinners” like people also rankled, adding to their ire.
I’ve talked about the woman caught committing adultery before, and what happened when Jesus reminded the ‘righteous’ folks that their rap sheets weren’t blank.
Reminders that sin can be forgiven still irks pillars of propriety. Sins they haven’t committed, or been caught committing, anyway. And that’s another topic. (April 23, 2017; November 21, 2016; October 23, 2016)
The point of that digression is that Jesus had been following Mosaic law.
No surprises there. Today’s Gospel shows his folks taking him to the temple because the law said they should.
Our Lord also talked about what the law means:
“He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
“This is the greatest and the first commandment.
“The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.'”
I think following the rules is important.
So is knowing what they mean: why I should read the Bible, go to Mass, and try to act like God and love matter.
At this point I’d generally start talking about the Presentation, Mosaic law, and how the way we understand reality changes as we learn more.
That’s not going to happen this week.
I’ve had maybe one or two close approximations to a full and uninterrupted night’s sleep this month, and it’s catching up with me.
I’ve been concentrating more and accomplishing less. More accurately, I’ve been making more typos than usual. Lots more. And tracking down information is taking longer.
Know about it, anyway.
I had an extremely unpleasant experience during the Christmas season when I was 12. I can’t remember it, or a sizable block of time around it, but know what happened.
The ‘down’ side is that decades of major depression and PTSD started then.
The ‘up’ side is that I learned how to stay moderately functional anyway.
That got much easier when my wife told me I should see a psychiatrist. That was about 11 years back. He stopped me before I’d finished listing disagreeable circumstances I’d been dealing with. Let’s face it, I’m a mess. (December 17, 2017; March 19, 2017)
Basically, this post is going to be shorter than most I write. That wouldn’t take much, and that’s yet another topic.
All three readings today were written more than a millennium before “Leave it Beaver” first aired. Humans haven’t changed much since then, but our cultures have.
Folks living near the eastern Mediterranean two millennia and more back used different customs and followed different rules.
Their families weren’t organized like suburban American families in the 1950s, or my family in the early 21st century.
The way of life reflected by the fictional Cleavers wasn’t wrong. And I don’t fear that my family is vexing God by not trying to herd sheep or grow figs.
Central Minnesota’s climate accounts for some differences.
But mostly it’s because we keep developing new technology — along with new social and political structures.
I’m also certain that families won’t work exactly the way they do now.
It’s also inevitable.
This universe keeps changing. That’s also okay. Magnificent as it is, it’s part of a much larger reality. And a temporary part, at that.
“The universe is transformation: life is opinion.”
(“Meditations,” Book IV, Marcus Aurelius (c. 161-180 AD))
“There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 (c. 5th-2nd century BC))
“Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
(Heraclitus (c. 535 BC-475 BC))
“Raise your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth below; Though the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies, My salvation shall remain forever and my victory shall always be firm.”
(Isaiah 51:6 (c. 700 BC))
I’ve said that before, and most likely will again. (August 4, 2017)
Nostalgia seems to be part of human nature; and harmless as long as we don’t let it get out of hand.
I’m pretty sure that some folks won’t like what’s happened since those wonderful days of yore — in the 4020s. Like the song says, these are the “good old days.” Fond memories of youth are okay. Trying desperately to drag the rest of us back, not so much.
Some still do, but they’re not often taken seriously. And they certainly don’t have much influence on American society.
I don’t miss the ‘good old days.’
Recognizing that men aren’t women and women aren’t men is one thing. Imagining that ‘she’s smart as a man’ is a compliment doesn’t make sense. Neither does assuming that girls shouldn’t take shop class.
My father-in-law got an anxious call from the school when one my wife’s sisters was a teen. Replying to ‘do you know that your daughter wants to take shop?’ he said “So? Let her!” These days, it’s my wife and son who have and use the power tools.
I was going somewhere with that. What was it? Holy Family, insomnia, 50s sitcoms. Right.
There’s more. Much more. But that’s all I have time or wit for today.
I’ve talked about some of it before, more or less:
- “Rejoicing Anyway”
(December 17, 2017)
- “‘Raving Politics’”
(September 17, 2017)
- “Navel-Gazing in August”
(August 6, 2017)
- “The Speckled Axe”
(April 9, 2017)
- “Internet Friends, Real People”
(March 19, 2017)
- “Feast of the Presentation of the Lord,”
- XX World of Consecrated Life, Homily; Pope Francis (February 2, 2016)
(From vatican.va/content/francesco/ … /papa-francesco_20160202_omelia-vita-consacrata.pdf (December 29, 2017))