Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Holy Family is model of faith for families
Based on Gn 15:1-6, 21:1-3; Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19; Lk 2:22-40
The Lord Jesus is offered to the Lord God the Father on this Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Joseph and Mary journey to the temple in Jerusalem to offer thanks and a gift to God, as was the custom after the birth of a Jewish couple’s first child.
After giving birth, women, because of the Mosaic Law, had to wait a certain amount of time before they could go to the temple or take part in any religious ceremony. Once this waiting time was over, women rejoined the worshipping community by offering two sacrifices.
In today’s Gospel, Mary offers two turtledoves (pigeons) instead of the usual combination of a lamb and a turtledove. Mosaic Law allowed this for those families too poor to afford a lamb.
After the ceremony, Joseph and Mary were met by an old man named Simeon. He was a holy man devoted to prayer. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and said, “Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see the savior you promised.”
Turning to Mary, Simeon predicted that Jesus, as Messiah, would have many difficulties in his lifetime, and that she would suffer much sorrow along with her son.
Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph. They were amazed by everything he told them.
Anna, a widow and old prophetess, with a beaming smile and outstretched arms, hugged Joseph and Mary and praised God for their child Jesus.
Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth and watched Jesus grow strong, filled with wisdom and blessed by God.
What makes the Holy Family holy? Despite frightening and troublesome conditions, hardship and sacrifice, they were humble people of faith who trusted God and were obedient to his directions.
The Holy Family is a model of faith for families and a reminder that every family is called to be holy – loving and serving God and one another.