Fr Vincent's reflections on the Feast of the Holy Family
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are not just some unique and perfect family which we look at and envy. They truly are a model for us of prayer and charity. Let seek their assistance so that our families can likewise be holy families.
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Feast of the Holy Family 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Feast of the Holy Family, let us pray:
O God, who were pleased to give us
the shining example of the Holy Family,
graciously grant that we may imitate them
in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity,
and so, in the joy of your house,
delight one day in eternal rewards.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As always, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Gospel today is Luke 2:22-40.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke.
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
they took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
— and you yourself a sword will pierce —
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope and pray your Christmas continues to be full of the blessings of Jesus Christ. Fast on the heels of Christmas Day, this Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Joseph and Mary and Jesus – can you think of a more perfect home in which to live?
Yet, how would you feel in Mary’s, or Joseph’s, place if you heard someone say that your child would cause the “fall” of many people, would be “contradicted,” and that you would be pierced by a sword? Doesn’t sound all that lovely to me, does it? Strange shepherds show up the night the baby is born. Even stranger astrologers from the East show up with unusual gifts. Angels keep showing up to make you change your plans for life. I’m not really sure how idyllic the life of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus truly was.
So we need to look beyond the practical experiences of this family to understand what their “holiness” means. There was so much totally out-of-the-ordinary for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus that they needed a spiritual focus to help them survive all these trying and testing experiences. This is where they are the model to help us in our chaotic lives and family experiences. They might have been more patient and kind, but they had their headaches and traumas like any family, so what insight, what model do they provide?
Mary was clearly a woman of prayer. And we must believe, Joseph, the righteous and compassionate man he was, was equally prayerful. He didn’t freak out when he had a vision the angel in his sleep, but quickly obeyed what he was told to do each time. I readily imagine that they needed God’s reassurance with all that was going on, and they got it through prayer. So, first and foremost, prayer is the corner stone of any truly holy family, even our own. And father and mother must take the lead in teaching their children by example what a life of prayer is all about. Even Jesus needed to learn from his parents.
Then, too, the active practice of charity. You know that prayer, all by itself, does not make a person “good.” Rather, seeing the value of others and responding to them with generosity and assistance builds the bonds of love that keep people connected. And responding to each other as God response to us in prayer becomes our way of blessing each other. This was foundational to the Holy Family.
So, on this Sunday after Christmas, as we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we need to see them not as some rare and unattainable reality, but as the model of prayer and charity which we can bring into our own homes with their help. Ask them to pray side by side with you in your family. Ask them to strength your love for each other, as they love, so you can be the charitable person you truly want to be. It is good to have the Holy Family bless our families this day.
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.