Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
1st Reading: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 128:1-2
2nd Reading: Colossians 3:2-21
Gospel: Luke 2: 41-52
In the Summer of 2007, I had the privilege of moving my oldest child into a dorm room at the college of her choice. This experience has caused much anxiety, stress and depression for many a parent and I expected to be overwhelmed by the same emotions. What happened to me was a very different experience however. That entire day, I was filled with thoughts of my young niece that had died several years prior at the tender age of nine years old. Lisa’s death was sudden and a complete shock to our entire family. All those years later, as I hauled boxes up to the 4th floor of the dorm, all I could think was “Lisa’s parents would give anything to be moving her into a college dorm today.”
I felt nothing but absolute gratitude for the privilege of participating in the milestones I witnessed during my daughter’s life and anticipated, with complete joy, the milestones yet to come. This is what we had always dreamed for her. It was our prayer and now that it was being manifested before our eyes, we could only approach the entire transition with thanksgiving.
This gospel always reminds me of that day. I think we sometimes forget that our children are not our own. We are entrusted with their care and well-being, however they are not our possessions and our job is to prepare them to leave us and be independent, contributing members of society. From the day they are born, that is the goal. We cannot take this responsibility lightly, but, also, we cannot use their lives for our own personal fulfillment either. They, too, have their own mission and calling from God and we are not to stand in the way. We are called to turn our children and their futures over to God.
The feasts that follow Christmas are a continuation of the celebration. The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates individual families, The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God celebrates the family of The Church and The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the family of nations. At the very core of these readings is the continuation of the revelation of who Jesus is.
This gospel is one to which most of us can relate. Most of us reading this come from a family. If you don’t have one of your own, more than likely you at least grew up in one, so you understand the joys and sorrows of living in such a community. Families take work and commitment. The readings today call us to be a part of a holy family, not a dysfunctional, argumentative and abusive family.
Everyone can understand why Joseph and Mary were frantic. Jesus was at an age of transition. After being surrounded and raised by women thus far, He was now expected to participate and build relationships with the men who held the power and authority in the community. Although Mary would maintain tremendous influence (culturally) over Jesus for the rest of He life (as her only son) Jesus is quick to remind her that nothing will stop Him from doing the will of His Father.
1. What has your experience of family been as a child?
2. What has your experience of family been as an adult?
3. How do you see your family’s role in preparing you to be a part of God’s family?
There is no handout for this week as the Catechumenate Session would have been on break for the Christmas holiday.