In today’s Gospel, Mary and Joseph—obedient Jewish parents—present Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. There they meet Simeon, a holy man who blesses God for having seen with his own eyes Christ the Lord. Mary and Joseph also meet the prophetess, Anna, who worships in the Temple day and night. She too gives thanks to God, realizing that the child is Jesus, who will be the redemption of Jerusalem.
Reflection for Parents
Just as Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple, most Catholic parents have presented their children for Baptism in their parish churches. But beyond the day of presentation, beyond the day of Baptism, it is in the everyday living out of our faith that our children come to know more deeply the love of God. Pray today to be an everyday example of God’s love to your children. Pray that they, like Jesus, may grow “and become strong, filled with wisdom."
Bringing the Gospel into Your Family
On this Feast of the Holy Family, share with your children your memories of the holiness of elderly members of your family and their ancestors. Recall stories you have heard about them, share photographs of them, and—if available—share the family Bible that contains your family tree. If such a family tree is not available, create one together. Write on the tree the names of family members, and draw pictures or symbols that represent them. Display the family tree in a prominent place, and add to it as needed. Be sure to include your own family members on the family tree!
- Someone I think of as being holy and wise is . . . because . . .
- One way our family is holy is . . .
- One way our family can grow in holiness is . . .
Today’s celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family highlights the importance of family in our religious life. We know that Mary and Joseph’s faithfulness to God enabled them to cooperate in God’s plan for our salvation by accepting the responsibility to raise God’s Son, Jesus. From his parents, Jesus learned how to be a faithful believer in his Jewish tradition. Simeon’s prophecy about Mary’s sorrow alerts us to the importance of a family’s commitment to one another, a commitment that is expressed in both good times and bad.
Gather as a family and recall times when your family showed its commitment to one another in good times and in bad. Recall times when your immediate family was supported by members of your extended family. Note that today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, and we see in the family of Jesus an example for our own family life. Read together today’s Gospel, Luke 2:22-40. Joseph and Mary expressed their faithfulness to God through their observance of the Law of Moses. Simeon prophesied the grief that Mary would experience at the foot of Jesus’ cross. One of the blessings of family life is our commitment to one another, sharing good times and supporting one another through difficult times. Conclude in prayer together thanking God for the grace expressed in your family’s commitment to another. Write a prayer together, thanking God for your family life and asking God to strengthen your family’s commitment to one another. Pray this prayer together.
[from Loyola Press Sunday Connection]