Gospel Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family – December 30th 2012
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Every year parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.
Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.
He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.
We recall often the sacrifices our parents made for us. Financial sacrifice, giving of their time, understanding us in confusion and many other gifts we thank family for. The first family story of Jesus is a tough story, Joseph caring for them in danger. He needed a father-protector as any child.
The family of Jesus was probably an extended family of cousins and relatives. Jesus grew up ordinary in many ways, not in the lonely world of only his parents as often has been presented. But he was identified through them also as people would often ridicule him with his parentage.
Today the church salutes the love of parents, fathers and mothers. The crib highlights them – they represent all our parents. We salute also the love the immediate and extended family and hope our church and state supports the goodness and potential for growth of family life.
Support from the Church
In a time of pressure on the family, the church supports family life – with education, faith formation, economic help when we can. As a parish and community we want to be committed to caring actively for family life. Jesus came not only to be with us, but to care. Same with the church – being in the world and caring for the world.
Joseph took the child and his mother, and cared for them as they cared for him. In looking after a small family, Joseph and Mary made a huge difference to a huge number of people, then and now.
Give peace of mind, O Lord, to our family and health of body. And eternal rest to all who have gone before us. Amen.
Donal Neary SJ