Today we’re taking a family day out to grow in faith at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. It is also the shrine Mother Angelia led the development of for the Sisters of Poor Saint Claire. We are blessed to have three priests from our diocease lead the retreat for the Regina Caeli Academy community.
The domestic church is a central link between God and Man for salvation. Throughout the entire Old Testament God builds his plan though families. When Adam and Eve fall, God proclaims there will always be enmity between the offspring of Eve and the devil. It prefigures the birth of Christ through a new Eve, we now know as Mary. The creation and nurturing of the covenant relationship between Abraham, Moses, and David reaches its fullfillment in Christ the son of Joseph of Nazareth.
Joseph was an heir of the of the covenant, and a decendent of King David. He lived the law handed down for thousands of years. When Joseph adopted Jesus, he did so under Jewish law. In Jewish law there was no step-father status, You were a father, or just another man to a child. Jesus became entitled to everything Joseph had through adoption, to include his birthright as an heir of the King. It also bound Jesus, our savior, to the same covenant relationship that each of his earthly forefathers lived under. Joseph taught Jesus the ways of Jewish life to make aliving and as spiritual as head of family.
Mary, was the daughter of a temple priest. Ancient legends also say she also played her part in the temple sewing the sanctuary veil. As a child, Mary possibly worked on maintaining the physical barrier between God and the people of Isreal. As a young woman, Mary broke the barrier by nurturing the Son of God from conception to death. Through Mary, Jesus Christ inherited the bloodline of a priest of Isreal.
In Jesus final moments of life on the cross he also used his role as head of family to make this circle of family ties complete. As the family high priest he offered himself as the sacrifice for our salvation. As the head of household, put his earthly affairs in order by ensuring his mother was cared for. Christ turned to the disciple he loved, and told him Mary was his mother. Jesus then told Mary the disciple was her son. Jesus adopted the disciple, and as such Mary was the disciple’s mother too. In this act, Jesus passes the new covenant he set forth and the Queen Mother on to his church family for all eternity.
Through the language of family, Christ completes the circle the covenant relationship. From the family cornerstone our parishes, diocese and universal chruch obtain their form. It will be a day well spent to contemplate means to strengthen and nurture this critical institution ordained by God himself through natural law at the dawn of the world. I hope you can find time in your day to do the same!