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    St. Mary's Parish
    211 Avenue O South
    Saskatoon, SK
    S7M 2R6

    Phone: 306 244 2983
    Fax: 306 242 6461

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    Saturday: 7pm
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    Wednesday: 6:30-7pm

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    8:30am to 12 Noon
    12:30pm to 4:00pm
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FAMILY picture


 By:  Alice Camille


The story of salvation begins with two old people who have nothing to show for their lives and nothing to lose. Abraham and Sarah left their home and people behind in hopes of a fresh start. But after a lifetime of roaming across territories where they didn’t belong and were often in danger, they had no children. This was much more than the disappointment it might be today. In their part of the world, childlessness was a condemnation from heaven, pointblank evidence that they had no place in the realm of the future.

Despite the encoded implications of their era, Abraham trusted God’s promises more than his own mortal humiliation. And God’s word delivers more than the child Isaac. God delivers to Abraham a land, and nations, and a magnificent story that would be told and retold until the end of time. Abraham and Sarah, two old people who had nothing to show for themselves after a lifetime of striving, got a place in the realm of the future they could not have dreamed of.

Yet after all this, we don’t bequeath to them the title of a holy family. Abraham and Sarah quarreled about divine procedures. Sarah thought they should take matters into their own hands and have heirs by Hagar, the maidservant. This produced Ishmael, whose existence Sarah grew to regret. The later birth of Isaac tore the extended family apart. Isaac would lose an older brother, and Hagar and Ishmael the security of Abraham’s paternity, in their dismissal.

A holy family isn’t simply blessed by God, or every family might claim the title. Many biblical families play critical roles in the story of salvation, but they don’t earn the honorific bestowed on one family in particular. What makes that one family holy is their careful and steadfast attention to the divine will. Mary is asked to receive the child of heaven, and she says yes. Joseph is asked to fulfill his promises to his unexpectedly pregnant fiancé, and he acquiesces. Joseph is prompted to flee with his family, and he does. Commanded to return home, he complies.

And that turns out to be the easy part. When it’s time to present their son in the temple, they take the journey. Twelve years later when the child goes missing, they swallow their frustration and accept that their boy belongs to a fate greater than anything they might desire for him. His mother will follow him through the years to places she never could have wanted to go, and witness events that would bring her soul-tormenting grief and horror. At the cross, she endures being given away to a disciple’s care. But on the morning of Pentecost, she’s still faithful to the plan, awaiting the Spirit along with the rest. Holiness never stops waiting on the promise.


Reprinted with permission
Prepare the Word (©2014)

Bulletin – Dec 28, 2014


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