Aiming for the Ideal – Fr. Jared Loehr

Fr. Jared Loehr’s Homily December 27, 2020

“It’s a great joy to be here with you. I’m very grateful and we get to celebrate the feast of the Holy Family today, so it’s a great message for us to be able to know that Jesus, he wasn’t a one man show. Think if you’re the most powerful, infinite, goodness, God, wouldn’t you think you could come to the world and take care of business by yourself? Wouldn’t you think you could do it correctly on your own, and yet it shows that God, who is love, is not a loner, but he comes into the context of a family. He comes into that community. When I was in Connecticut studying humanities there was this Irish professor. He comes up and he asks us a question at the beginning of class that I’ll never forget. He said, ‘Raise your hands if you think the basic unit of society is the individual.’ and about a third of the brothers raised their hand and he said, ‘Well, you’re not thinking as God is, you’re thinking in a secular society way, but not as a Christian.’ He said, ‘The core unit of society is the family and it’s because we don’t create ourselves. We don’t invent ourselves. We come in a family with relationship and we don’t grow up by ourselves, we grow up with others to be able to accompany us and challenge us. That’s why the family is the school of love where you really learn how to be patient and to learn how to be understanding. And so, every person is unique and every family is unique even though it’s never perfect and ideal like we would imagine, but there is an ideal that we are shooting for. We have a guiding star and that’s where the Holy Family we celebrate today is that ideal we can start to tap into. If we go for a natural family, we also get to participate in a supernatural family. Just as Jesus came, he had Mary and Joseph, the little nucleus there, he is reflecting the Trinity that he had in Heaven and then he goes and starts his supernatural family which is the Church and it’s amazing how at the cross in his last moments, he had both. He had Mary and he had his disciples. He had his friends with him and a few enemies as well and so it’s interesting, one of my favorite Latin distinctions is et et or out out and the faith of Christianity and the way God works is all about both and, et et which is and and. We can think out out like either all God or all family or all family and no God. It becomes this juxtaposition that’s not how God sees it. He wants both and so the natural can help the supernatural and back and forth and so we need both. We get to live that Holy Family experience in the natural family and the supernatural family and that’s why baptism, we get to be born into that bigger family and we get to grow up in the Church and we all become God’s adopted children to have the same loving eternal Father.

Ideals are great. Ideals are wonderful, but there’s also different challenges and circumstances if someone passes away or if there’s different separation that love can be wounded and even though the ideal may be difficult to see or to know that it’s there it doesn’t take away that we do have somewhere to aim toward. Heaven is where it’s all going to be perfect and so we’re doing our best here and so the Holy Family shows us as well. They had tons of challenges: getting persecuted by the government, being chased and hunted down, being immigrants, having new languages and new cultures and then Joseph passing away earlier and Mary losing her son. They went through a really tough deal, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a certain perfection in that. There’s a perfection in the working family working through deals. It’s like even if our heart is imperfect, it doesn’t mean we get rid of it. It’s something that maybe we have to modify activities or try to repair what we can, but we’re still aiming for the ideal because we still need a heart. We still need a family. The evil guy, he really wants to take advantage of us when we are alone and isolated and that is when we’re vulnerable and weak is when we don’t have family. We don’t have either the natural or the supernatural around and he can get a cheap shot at us because that is a great defense when we have the school of love and those who can keep us growing in charity. That’s one of the biggest ways to defeat the evil guy is to not be all alone and be all by ourselves. Today we get to celebrate the Holy Family. We get to celebrate the family that God gave us as perfect or imperfect as it can be and then as well the supernatural family that we get to enjoy and celebrate together, our identity as well with all the saints and the angels that are all in that same relationship and to know that we’re not called to fight alone. We’re called to be together, to have that support. Let’s ask today to reject that one-man-show syndrome that our secular world would tell us that it’s all about being my own person and to pave my own way, be a self-made man, but to know that we need others. We need the family. We need the example and also the complimentary of different talents of each other and that can rub us the wrong way. That helps us to be who we are and let’s ask for that grace to be able to reach out to those who are hurt or alone that they may see the great invitation that we have to be in a family and let’s the Holy Family today to be our guide, to be our hope, to be our joy, to know what we belong to as we receive the ultimate sacrifice of love of Christ giving himself to the Church and the Eucharist today that unity that brings together all peoples and all places, the unity of the Eucharist which unites literally all hearts so that we can know that we are part of a wonderful family and a great mission and that we’ll never be alone.”