Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
By Father Jason Smith, LC
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. I place myself before you. Thank you for the gift of faith. How can I ever repay you for it? Jesus, I hope in you. May your presence today keep my will set on glorifying you. Lord, I love you and I long for my heart to be filled with your love.
Petition: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to value and promote the sanctity of the family.
- The Holy Family: Today we celebrate the solemn memorial of the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. A family blossoms with the birth of a child. Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem marks the beginning of the blossoming of the Holy Family. In today’s Gospel, with Mary and Joseph to guide him, the Son of God grew and was educated. “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.” It is a model for every family: love, care, education, obedience. Am I grateful to my parents for my upbringing, and do I seek to express this gratitude in concrete ways? Do I fully grasp the essential elements of family life and try to promote them the best I can?
- Parenting Is Never Easy: Mary and Joseph were attentive to Jesus’ every step. But no parent is perfect — there are times when the child can slip away. Here we see them racing back to Jerusalem in search of Jesus, as well as their delight at finding him once again. Mary and Joseph experienced the same emotions every parent does while raising a child: moments of anxiety and joy. Do I patiently embrace the moments of anxiety in my family life? Do I strive to spread joy to all the members of my family?
- The Obedience of Jesus: Every child needs the authority and direction of parents. Number 532 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Jesus’ obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. The everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: ‘Not my will. . .’ The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed.” Do I appreciate the important role of obedience in my life, and am I seeking carefully to instill it in my children? Within the family of the Church do I have a filial attitude towards the Holy Father? Do I know, understand and support his teachings and guidelines?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to keep my mind on the things above. How little I reflect on the Incarnation, even during the Christmas season! Help me to be ever more mindful that you dwell in my heart. Let me radiate your presence today in my own family. Let them see your goodness reflected in my words and actions.
Resolution: Today, I will pray for the sanctity of the family.