Homily – December 29, 2019

There was a song out years ago title; ’No one know what goes on behind closed doors.’ There is something called the hidden life of Jesus. We’ve just celebrated his birth. Today we hear of the family’s flight into Egypt to avoid a jealous king. January 1st we celebrate Jesus’ circumcision. The next we hear of Jesus was when he was 12 years old and driving Mary and Joseph crazy as he disappeared in Jerusalem for 3 days. Then there is silence til Jesus shows up where John the Baptist is baptizing in the Jordon and a voice sounds from heaven,’ this is my son, the beloved, in him I am well pleased.’ In all those years we have no idea what went on behind closed doors.’ And it really isn’t all that important. What is important is what Jesus said did in his public life and his passion death and resurrection.

Today is the feast day of the Holy Family. There was only one holy family and they had their problems and sorrows. They lived in the small community of Nazareth. Joseph was a carpenter; there may have been many times he was out of work. Like every Jewish boy Jesus was expected to follow his father’s trade.

We are all family, we belong to the human family, we belong to the family of the church and we belong to the family of all the life forms on planet earth. All these families have issues. For our own personal families the saying ‘no one knows what goes on behind closed doors is true. We keep our troubles to ourselves. Unfortunately the troubles of our family of the church are on the news constantly, sexual abuse and cover ups. Unfortunately our problems as a member of the family of all life on Earth are either being denied or put off to the next global meeting on global change. The latest in Spain was a bust. We seem to be in denial.

On September 1st of this year Pope Francis called for a world day of prayer for the care of creation. Here are some of the things the pope said when establishing that day;

Now is the time “ to reflect on our lifestyles, and how our daily decisions about food, consumption, transportation, use of water, energy and many other material goods, can often be thoughtless and harmful.”

Now is the time, “to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy. Now is time to learn from “indigenous peoples, whose age-old wisdom can teach us how to live in a better relationship with the environment.”

Pope Francis is buoyed up by the fact that many young people all over the world are making their voices heard and calling for courageous decisions”,and he stresses that we owe them real answers, not empty words, actions not illusions.”

Realistically he says that ‘tragically, the human response to this gift of creation has been marked by selfishness and a greedy desire to possess and exploit, no matter what the consequences. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. But the doors of climate change are wide open; look at the fires in Australia and California, the droughts in Africa or the rains and high tides in Europe and closer to home the climate changes in the Artic.

We need this year to be more aware on the reality of the mess our life family on Earth is in. Can we begin a new year with a deeper appreciation of the truth of these words you’ve heard before; the Earth does not belong to us, we belong to Earth and what we do to Earth we do to ourselves. We did not weave the web of life; we are a strand in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves. We are family with all other life forms on Earth and family must come first.