Feast of the Holy Family
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Sirach 3:2-6,12-14; Psalm 128:1-5; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15,19-23)
View NAB Reading at USCCB.org
What it Means to “Put on Love”
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones … love. (Colossians 3:12, 14)
You are about to head out the door for a family photo session when you take a quick look around and groan. Your toddler’s face is dirty, and her hair is tangled. Your teenage son is wearing a ragged T-shirt. Another child is engrossed in a video game he can’t seem to leave. The clothes you are wearing clash with what your spouse has on.
Of course, you do what you can to fix these problems, but don’t forget the most important part of your wardrobe. Put on love! Remember, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
You would never walk out the door naked, and you probably wouldn’t walk around your home undressed either. But there are many instances when we are not on our best behavior with the people we spend most of our time with. How often we forget to put on the love that makes it possible to live together in a family or a convent! How easy it is to ignore slips of the tongue or selfish decisions, simply because we are so used to the people around us!
So put on love! Love knows it’s not perfect yet, so it makes allowances for other people’s mistakes and forgives their wrongs. Love knows its understanding is limited, so it looks upon other people with respect and tries to learn from them. Love knows the world is full of hurtful words and deeds, so it tries to make the home a haven of kindness and gentleness. Love realizes that growth takes time, so it practices patience. Love gratefully welcomes and treasures every family member, looking for the good in them, however deeply it may be buried.
May this be our vision for our families! May we all learn how to put on love day in and day out. Then our homes will begin to feel more and more like the home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family and our models.
“Jesus, thank you for my family. Help us learn how to respect and love each other even more.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discsusion
- In the first reading, the book of Sirach teaches us of our responsibilities to our parents, with special focus on our fathers, and the rewards that go along with honoring and respecting them. How have you stacked up against these responsibilities? If your father is still alive, what steps can you take to honor him?
- We know that no fathers are perfect. In what way has your relationship with your earthly father helped or hindered your relationship with your Heavenly Father, and your experience of His great love for you? If it has hindered your relationship, what steps can you take to change this?
- The responsorial psalm tells of the many blessings for those who “fear” the Lord? What does “fear of the Lord” mean to you? What are the positive aspects of the right understanding of this “fear”? What are the negative sides of a wrong understanding of this fear?
- The second reading presents how we should treat one another in Christian love. This includes the authentic atmosphere of a Christian family where kindness, love, mutual understanding, forgiveness, prayer, thanksgiving and joy in the Holy Spirit should be present. How can you make the words of this reading a greater reality in your life? Which of the characteristics mentioned in the reading is the Lord asking you to bring more deeply into your home environment?
- St. Paul also reminds us that forgiveness is a gift we have received from the Lord, and “that as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” This means we must give this gift to others. To whom is the Lord asking you to give the gift of forgiveness to?
- In the Gospel Joseph is the model of a man of obedience; ever ready to follow the Lord’s instructions wherever they might lead him. How open are you to changing your plans if the Lord asks you to? How do you discern the Lord’s will in your life?
- The meditation presents us with these challenging words: “You would never walk out the door naked, and you probably wouldn’t walk around your home undressed either. But there are many instances when we are not on our best behavior with the people we spend most of our time with. How often we forget to put on the love that makes it possible to live together in a family or a convent! How easy it is to ignore slips of the tongue or selfish decisions, simply because we are so used to the people around us! So put on love!” What do you think these words mean: “put on love”? How well are you at putting on love with your family and others? What steps can you do take to restore relationships that have been damaged over the years by a lack of love?
- Take some time now to pray for the grace to bring the Lord’s love into your family’s and other’s lives. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.