No family is perfect and “holy” like the Holy Family. Although, they had their moments, too. In today’s Gospel on the Feast day of the Holy Family, Jesus stayed back at the Temple without telling Mary and Joseph. Once she found Jesus, Mary shared that she was anxious when she did not know where He was. Of course, like any “holy” preteen, Jesus replies, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” He was found exactly where one might think to look, but Mary and Joseph were worried nonetheless. Christ is found in each moment of our family lives, even ones of brokenness.

Christ was there to console me the day my father moved out, and I felt deep sorrow for the first time. He was there to accompany me as my grandfather walked me home from school each day to arrive to the smell of sofrito from my grandmother’s Cuban cooking. Christ was present to ease my anxiety during tense family moments at graduations and confirmations. He was there at the table when I sat next to both my parents at Christmas for the first time in decades. He is, now, there every time my mother sits at my father’s dinner table and when he serves her some rice or beans. Christ is present when we celebrate my mother’s birthday each year at my father’s house. Christ was very much there on my wedding day: during the Mass when my parents sat (almost) next to each other, when they took the not-awkward-at-all family photo, and during the reception when there wasn’t any family tension at all.

God’s presence and grace flows through all these moments as a family. Looking back to find God’s goodness in the life of my family has helped me to see each new moment with my husband as sacred, whether it is a consoling or challenging one. Ronald Rolheiser’s recent weekly reflection drove this home for me:

“Inside of God there is a kind of family life going on and Jesus has assured us that when we give and receive from each other within a family, when we break open our lives and hearts and joys and frustrations and egos and agendas and finances and share these with each other, we are letting the life of God flow through us and we are giving skin to the inner life of the Trinity.”

As my husband and I celebrate our first anniversary on the Feast day of the Holy Family, I rest in greater awe, peace, and trust that the life of God flows through my family life, even in its brokenness and moments of imperfection.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, please give me the grace to give to and receive from my family. May I be more attentive and vulnerable to find how Your life flows through my family in each moment.

Karisa Avalos