The Holy Family, 29th December, 2019
Gospel : Matthew 2:13-15. 19-23
After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him’.
So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him left that night or Egypt, where they stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:I called my son out of Egypt.’
After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead’. So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:
‘He will be called a Nazarene.’
Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.
The Gospel of the Lord
Donal Neary SJ
God made flesh
In a country church there was a whitewashed wall – maybe you heard this story, but like the Christmas story it’s a good one. As people came in, they bowed to the wall or blessed themselves passing it. People wondered why, as there was no picture on the wall. At a time of repainting the church, the whitewash and a few layers of paint were removed and a fresco of the nativity was found. The ritual had remained when the reason was forgotten.
There are many customs and visuals of Christmas, houses are lit up with stars, reindeer, and baubles – everything to celebrate that the divine mixed with the human in an intense way, the family of heaven and earth joined, when light and hope shone on the world. Some reminders are more direct than others. Others may be a bit like the fresco – still there and yet we wonder why. Let’s stop saying put Christ back into Christmas, say rather find Christ in all of Christmas.
In every face you see this day, think of the face of God. We often pray that the face of God may shine on us, when we are brought face to face with God we will be face to face with immense and enduring love. We long for this now and forever.
People long for justice, for peace. People long for just enough in life like street children of Calcutta and children all over the world, and we long for reconciliation. Christmas is also a reminder of them. Not alone of God’s immense love for all, but for the immense and enduring torture as God suffers still today in us all. The cross is in the crib, reminding us of the future of this child.
Also – enjoy all the reminders of Christmas. Let everything secular about Christmas remind us of its holy meaning. Every light you see, every red nosed reindeer, every cracker and bit of pudding, every bit of love under a mistletoe, in them all see, and be aware of Christ in everything of these next few days; and be glad of the face of Christ made human for us this night.
Gospel and Gosple Reflection are taken from Mass Readings and Sunday Homily - Catholicireland.net.