Holy Family Sunday

Por: Redacción de Palabra Nueva

December 27, 2020

Whoever respects his father will have a long life, and whoever honors his mother obeys the Lord.

As God’s chosen, holy and beloved, review yourself with endearing compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience.

The child, for his part, was growing and strengthening, full of wisdom;

and God’s grace was with him.

 

Readings

First Reading

Reading the book of ecclesiastical 3, 2-6.12-14

The Lord honors the father more than the children and affirms the mother’s right over them.
Whoever honors his father atons for his sins, and who respects his mother is like the one who accumulates treasures.
Whoever honors his father will rejoice in his children and, when he prays, he will be heard.
Whoever respects his father will have a long life, and whoever honors his mother obeys the Lord.
Son, take care of your father in his old age and during his life don’t make him sad.
Even if I lose my mind, be lenient with him, and don’t despise him even when you’re in full force.
For compassion for the father will not be forgotten and will serve you to repair your sins.

Psalm

Come out 127, 1-2. 3. 4-5

Blessed are those who fear the Lord and follow his ways.

Blessed is he who fears the Lord and follows his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your work, you will be blissful, you will do well. R/.

Your wife, as a fruitful parra, in the middle of your house;
your children, like olive trees, around your table. R/.

This is the blessing of the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion,
that you see the prosperity of Jerusalem every day of your life. R/.

Second Reading

Reading St Paul’s Letter to the Coloses 3, 12-21

Brothers:
As God’s chosen, holy and beloved, review yourself with endearing compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience.
Oversell each other and forgive each other, when anyone has complaints against another.
The Lord has forgiven you: do the same.
And above all this, love, which is the bond of perfect unity.
May the peace of Christ reign in her heart: she has been summoned into one body.
Be grateful, too. The Word of Christ dwells among you in all your wealth; show each other with all wisdom; ex-behave each other.
Sing to God, giving thanks from the heart, with inspired psalms, hymns, and chants.
And whatever word or work you do, be it all in the name of Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.
Women, be submissive to your husbands, as is appropriate in the Lord. Husbands, love your women, and don’t be rough on them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, that this pleases the Lord. Parents, don’t exasperated your children, no matter if they lose their spirits.

 

Gospel

Reading the Holy Gospel according to Luke 2, 22-40

When the days of his purification were fulfilled, according to the law of Moses, they took him to Jerusalem to present to the Lord, as written in the Lord’s law: “Every firstborn man shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to deliver oblation, as the Lord’s law says: “a pair of lovebirds or two chicks.”
Then there was in Jerusalem a man named Simeon, a righteous and pious man, who awaited the comfort of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was with him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Ghost that he would not see death before seeing the Lord’s Messiah. Driven by the Spirit, he went to the temple.
And when Jesus entered with the child his parents to fulfill with him the usual according to the law, Simeon took him in his arms and blessed God by saying:
“Now, Lord, according to your promise,
you can let your servant go in peace.
Because my eyes have seen your Savior,
whom you have presented to all the peoples:
light to light nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”
His father and mother were admired for what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, her mother:
“This has been put up so that many in Israel may fall and rise; and it will be like a sign of contradiction—and to yourself a sword will pierce your soul—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anne, daughter of Fanuel, of the tribe of Aser, already well advanced in years. As a young man she had lived seven years married, and then a widow until she was eighty-four; he did not turn away from the temple, serving God with fasts and prayers night and day. Presenting himself at that time, he also praised God and spoke of the child to all who awaited the deliverance of Jerusalem.
And when they fulfilled all that the Lord’s law prescribed, they turned to Galilee, to their city of Nazareth. The child, for his part, was growing and strengthening, full of wisdom; and God’s grace was with him.

 

Comment

How timely and necessary is for the Church, in her Liturgy, to invite us to celebrate the feast of the family today, setting as a model the Holy Family of Nazareth, immediately after the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. If on Holy Christmas Night we focused our gaze on the Child God, made man for our salvation, today we widen the space to include Joseph and Mary with the Child in our contemplation. Indeed, God wanted to be born as we are all born, into a family, with a father and a mother, surrounded by love and affection, pampered and cared for as any mom or dad does with their babies. God thus wanted to bless and assume forever this human reality that we call family, the first cell of any social fabric, to make it also the first cell of the Body of Christ that is the Church. Every Christian family, as a community of life and love, is a sign and germ of the great family of God’s children, whose visible image is the Church. In these convulsive times, when family reality is in crisis, and its concept is diluted in many formats and options, Christians are called to renew our commitment to build our families according to god’s original project, which we visualize in the Holy Family of Nazareth.

In the family is the origin of human life in any culture no matter how ancestral, in all regions of the earth, in all times of history. We are all born to a father and a mother, the fruit of their sponsal love. In some cases this sponsal love has not been stable or lasting, but in many others it is for life, according to God’s original project, which we find reflected in the first pages of the Bible. Therefore, the family must be the human and Christian space where human life is originated, defended, cared for and respected, from its first moment in the womb. The life of each of us is God’s gift, and only He belongs to Him, from its origin to its natural end.

In the family the father and mother have a pre-eminent place, both on a par, not one more or above the other, in the complementarity of their functions, which beget children as the fruitful fruit of their love. Begeting children with responsibility is no easy task in today’s world. It requires an understanding of life from God, and a personal sacrifice that not everyone is willing to assume. In some cases because of social and economic difficulties, and in others because of the excess comfort and selfishness of a materialistic society that does not wish to make binding commitments forever, procreation is dilated over time, or simply excluded from married and family life. And we contemplate with stupor how in our supposedly Christian societies, there is not the natural and necessary generational relay: the population decreases, the towns and cities are emptied, there are very few children and young people in our communities. Without sufficient generational re-relief, our culture and religion seem to be overreaction, if not extinction, to at least a loss of considerable relevance. Begeting children means collaborating with God in the creation and progress of mankind.

But family is not only the place where we are born to life, but also where we learn to live. The inescapable, irreplaceable, unexplained task of parents is the education of children. Educational structures in society cannot, even if they intended, supplant the educational planting we receive in the family. The basic principles of relationship and coexistence, of respect and education, of effort and work, of sacrifice and altruism, of love for God and neighbour, we learn them originally in the family, especially from the testimony of our parents. They will then be complemented and grown in other areas such as school, church, and other spaces of coexistence.

From our Christian faith we understand that the family, in its original expression, is the best image and school of God’s love for all humanity. In Sacred Scripture we constantly find how God manifests himself to us as the Husband who loves his wife who is the whole humanity; like the Father who loving his children dearly who is all of us; even the image of God as Mother is subtly present in several biblical texts.

Hence respect and love for the father and mother must always be faithful reflection of the respect and love we owe to God. We find it beautifully described in today’s first reading, taken from the book of the Ecclesiastical. Explain perfectly what God’s Law asks of us in the fourth commandment: you will honor your father and your mother.

Family is undoubtedly the first area where we feel loved and learn to love. How important it is that we build our families with this fundamental key. Parents’ love for children and children for parents, the love of husbands with each other, which is projected towards others who are so often included in the family, particularly grandparents. We know well that authentic love is not only a momentary feeling or feeling but a basic choice of coexistence, which leads us to the surrender of one’s life by those we love. Love in the family needs respect, education, dialogue, work, sacrifice, patience, humility, understanding, forgiveness… and so many other human and Christian virtues, which are learned to the extent that they are practiced as a family. Today’s second reading describes it perfectly.

The Gospel introduces us to Jesus who, in the arms of Joseph and Mary, is brought to the Temple for the first time to be offered to the Father. In this text we find one of the most precious and significant images of the family of Nazareth, the family of Jesus, the Holy Family. She must be the model of every Christian family. In it we will always find the example of the way forward and the stimulus necessary to overcome any difficulties however hard it is in each of our families. Pope Francis tells us this: “Jesus’ parents go to the temple to confirm that the son belongs to God and that they are the custodians of his life, but they are not the owners. All parents are custodians of children’s lives, but not owners, and must help them grow, mature. This gesture underscores that only God is the Lord of individual and family history; everything comes for Him. Each family is called to recognize such primacy, guarding and educating children to open therself to God who is the source of the same life. The secret of inner youth passes through here, paradoxically witnessed to in the Gospel by two elders, Simeon and Anne. Old Simeon says of the Child Jesus: “This has been set for many in Israel to fall and rise; and it will be like a sign of contradiction. to reveal the thoughts of many hearts.” Jesus has come to bring down the false images we make of God and also of ourselves; to make us ‘resurface’ on a true human and Christian path, on the values of the Gospel. There is no family situation that is excluded from this new path of rebirth and resurrection. And every time families, also wounded and marked by fragility, failures and difficulties, return to the source of the Christian experience, new paths and unimaginable possibilities are opened.”

This year, which Pope Francis has dedicated especially to St. Joseph, is a new time for our families to renew therself in love and truth, contemplating the family of Jesus, the family of Nazareth, in which He grew up and strengthened in wisdom and grace, together with Joseph and Mary.

 

Prayer

Jesus, Mary and Joseph;

to you, the Holy Family of Nazareth, today we look with admiration and trust;
in you we contemplate the beauty of communion in true love;
we entrust you to all our families,

and to renew the wonders of grace.

Holy Family of Nazareth, attractive school of the Holy Gospel:
Show us to imitate their virtues with wise spiritual discipline, give us a clean look that recognizes the action of Providence in the everyday realities of life.

Holy Family of Nazareth, faithful custody of the ministry of salvation:
bring forth in us the esteem for silence, make our families circles of prayer and turn them into small domestic churches, renew the desire for holiness,
help us sustain the noble fatigue of work, education, listening, understanding and mutual forgiveness.

Holy Family of Nazareth, awakens in our society the awareness of the sacred and inviolable character of the family, invaluable and irreplaceable.

May each family be a welcoming abode of God and of peace for children and for the elderly, for those who are sick and alone, for those who are poor and needy.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
we pray to you with confidence, we entrust ourselves to you with joy.

(Pope Francis’ Prayer for Families, October 2013)

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