Every time I am about to celebrate Mass for the Feast of the Holy Family, I always very carefully scan the congregation. Why, you may ask? Well to make sure that none of my immediate family members are there in Church, of course! You see, almost twenty years ago now, as I came to the center of the sanctuary to preach the homily, this little two year old young lady came running up the aisle and stopped short about two pews away from me gleaming at me with a big smile on her face. Sure enough, it was my niece Katie and I quickly saw that my brother, his wife and family were there a little ways back; they had come up to pay me a surprise visit. Looking down at her, I said “Well hello there little Miss Katie, it certainly is wonderful to see you, your Mom, your Dad and your two brothers, Donny and baby David here today! But now I am in a bit of a tight spot; do you know why? Because since today is the Feast of the Holy Family, I was, and still am, going to spend the next few minutes talking about you and them. Family. You never know when they are going to turn up, do you? It’s no wonder that we celebrate the Feast of the Holy family just a few days after Christmas. It’s right around this time of course that so many of us had a chance to see them again and spend time with them again. And therefore it’s also right around now that so many of us are also thanking God for already doing so or begging Him to send them home. Yes this time of year reconnects us with our families, warts and all; the good, the great, the bad and the ugly. For me it reminds me of so many things, and perhaps most of all of how important forgiveness is in a family. Forgiveness that I must humbly seek. Forgiveness that I must readily give. And why is it so important? Because a major part of the Christmas message is that the Father chose to send His son into the world as part of a family. A specific family-Jesus’ family was not chosen randomly, but handpicked by the Father. The same is true with each and every one of us. God chose us to be part of His creation, but He didn’t just do so randomly. He handpicked our family, just like He handpicked Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Yes. As Jesus’ family is holy, so your family is Holy. Happy Feast everyone!