Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Instead of a typical homily, today, I felt led to pray for families. Over the year, I get numerous requests from parishioners to pray for various needs of families. Today, it is my intention to bring these needs before the entire community, so that together we can raise these needs up to God in prayer.
First, we thank God for our families - no matter what form, state, or shape we find them in. We thank God for creating the human family. Let us take the time to thank God for OUR family. In God’s eternal plan, these are the people God put in our lives. We are grateful! We are thankful!
We pray for all families, that every family on earth may become a a true shrine of life and love. Dear God, we pray that your grace may guide the thoughts and actions of each spouse for the good of their families and of all the families in the world. We pray that children and young people may find in the family strong support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love. We pray that strengthened by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, families may prove stronger than all the weakness and trials which our families endure.
For families that are torn apart by division, disunity, conflict, and discord – we pray that the same Spirit that guided the Holy Family through complex, confusing, and dangerous times may guide these families to reconciliation, forgiveness, goodwill, harmony, and finally, healing and peace. We pray especially for marriages that are on the verge of a breakup – that the Spirit of healing and peace will restore them to their original love.
For families that are enduring financial burdens, unsurmountable financial debt, or loss of home due to unemployment, underemployment, unexpected medical expenses, or other unforeseen circumstances - we pray that these families may never lose hope, that God may give them the wisdom to navigate through the difficulties, that God may lead people to gainful employment, to healing from illnesses, and most of all lead our leaders to alleviate the burdens of those in need by creating just economic systems.
For families oppressed by the evil of addition, for those who suffer from addictions, and for families of those who have lost a loved one by overdose or suicide. We pray for parents that have lost a son or a daughter, for children who have lost a parent – that God’s comforting presence will be their enduring hope. We pray for those who suffer from addiction, that God strengthen them to reach out for help and take the first step to recovery; may God give them the persistence to persevere in the struggle to be free; that God give courage and hope to their families and draw them close together.
For Families who have members facing terminal illnesses, serious sickness, mental ailments, disabilities or imminent death – we pray that when ill members of our families feel diminished, that God call them by name and hold them in the palm of God’s hand. When they feel fragile and broken, that God strengthen them by uniting them to the suffering and death of Jesus.
When they feel uncertain about the future, may they be assured of the support of their families and community. May God lead them to that perfect love which casts out all fear, and the assurance of eternal life in heaven.
For immigrant and refugee families – As we reflect upon the difficult journey that the Holy Family faced as refugees in Egypt, we remember the suffering of all migrant families. We pray that our Good and gracious God provide special protection for all families, particularly those who face hardships as they move in search of a better life. Dear God, show mercy to those who travel in danger and lead them to a place of safety and peace. Comfort those who are alone and afraid because their families have been torn apart by violence and injustice. We pray for children separated from their families that they may be reunited with their families. Open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality for all who come in search of refuge. Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst.
For children – that every child in every family will be nurtured in an environment of love, security, peace, and holiness. We pray for the thousands of children who get lost or go missing; for who children get caught up between divorced parents, for children who find themselves abused in any form, for children in foster care waiting to be adopted, for children trafficked and exploited, for children in war zones, for children with mental or physical disabilities, for children within and outside the womb that are in the danger of death – that they never feel abandoned by God, and that those who work for the well-being of children may help our children get to safe and healthy places.
For young people seeking a partner in life- that God will fulfil their desire for companionship; for those who find themselves single and alone – that God will always be present for them; for couples unable to conceive – that God will grant their desire for children like God did for Zachariah and Elizabeth; for families that have a member of their family in prison or is missing – that God will keep their loved one safe; for family members who feel alone, abandoned, or unaccepted by their families; for aging and aged people in nursing homes and institutions for assisted living – that our community will always uphold the dignity of those unable to care for themselves and provide good and holistic care.
We present all these petition to God through the intercession of St. Joseph and our Mother Mary.
- Fr. Satish Joseph