The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Sunday 30th December 2018
GOSPEL : Luke 2:22-40
When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord — observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord — and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected — and a sword will pierce your own soul too — so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Donal Neary, S.J.
Various aspects of family life are highlighted in the readings today They are chosen with family life in mind – the old, the young and the child – and in praise of family life with both Elkanah and Hannah, and then Mary and Joseph coming close to God in their family life. Today is a day in praise of family marriage, sexuality, birth and of prayer for families. And in the family we learn about God – more by example than by words.Most familiesmanage well even in times of stress. Daily and ordinary love can overcome a lot else.
While praising the great efforts of parents today, and the strong family life which exists among us, we also look at contemporary problems: the stresses on the one-parent family; children unsure of the commitment of the parents; the effects of divorce on the children, and admitting that marriage breakup has a confusing or damaging effect on children; the long life of elderly who are very ill and require a lot of loving but difficult attention; the effects of addiction to drugs and alcohol; prison and crime.
Faith, prayer, Mass and the Church can bring us through a lot in bad days. Some prayer at night or in the morning, before a meal or leaving the house; Mass, and including prayer at high points of family life are ways of including prayer in family life. Family is the school of faith and the place of God in the ordinary everyday world.
‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph, help us in our family life. ‘ … c/f ]n. 1:1-18
Gospel and Gosple Reflection are taken from Mass Readings and Sunday Homily - Catholicireland.net.