The Feast of the Holy Family

We celebrate Feast of the Holy Family recognizing that God brings salvation to all in whatever family situation they are. From the child promised to the faithful old Abraham and Sarah, to the child parented by holy Joseph and Mary, and tenderly recognized by the dying Simeon and the widow Anna.

  • To the point: “The child grew and became strong.” This simple affirmation about the Child says something about the whole mystery of the Incarnation, about families, and about holiness. Mary and Joseph, no doubt, grew into their role as parents of Jesus, beginning with their fulfilling the prescriptions of the law. We grow as a human family as we respond to the many different ways God calls us to holiness. This is the meaning of the Incarnation: growth in God’s ways.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 2: 22-40) to the first reading: God’s promise of salvation comes to fulfillment through the “enfleshment” of human life: the son born to Abraham and Sarah, the Child parented by Mary and Joseph and tenderly recognized by Simeon and Anna. This promise continues to be “enfleshed” today as we grow in holiness.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: The point to this feast is not to create a tension between a notion of an ideal nuclear family and our actual experience of family. Growing in holiness is possible no matter what our family situation.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 2: 22-40)

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.”

The Spirit called. Simeon and Anna came forth.
Call us too, O Spirit. Let us recognize Christ, our brother,
the one object of our longing, and find him in all people,
in all of creation, in our midst here and now.
Teach us above all else, how to love
as you and the Father and the Son love.
Make each and every one part of your Holy Family.

The First Reading

(Sirach 3: 2-6 or Genesis 15: 1-6, 21: 1-3)

“As the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”

Good things happen when we love our parents:
when we pray, we are heard. God of joy,
is this the way your love works?
Touching a person here,
passing on to another there,
landing here, landing there, healing,
making miracles everywhere,
then returning to you?
Oh God, let us be ready every time
to catch your love and pass it on.

The Second Reading

(Colossians 3: 12-21 or Hebrews 11: 8, 11-12, 17-19)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Christ, come to us in our Nazareths.
Plant kindly all your words in our hearts.
Give us patience and compassion. Make us kind and humble.
Make us love you: doing everything in your name,
so that all things work together, under you, for good.

Copyright © 2020, Anne M. Osdieck

For reflection and meditation