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; Luke 2:41-52)
The Holy Family, Our Model of Love and Unity
“Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” (Luke 2:48)
Great anxiety indeed! Jesus had been missing for three whole days. Jerusalem was a big city, teeming with people of all kinds. Anything could have happened.
How did Jesus respond to Mary and Joseph’s words of concern and worry? As casually as any other adolescent: “What’s the big deal? Didn’t you think to look in my Father’s house?” You can imagine Joseph wanting to shoot back: “Sorry, son, but my house is in Nazareth. You’re grounded for a month!”
But this was the Holy Family, and Jesus was already twelve years old. Surely this wasn’t the first time that he took them by surprise. They were probably in the habit of keeping things in their hearts (Luke 2:51) for further prayer, discussion, and pondering!
We may not be as well mannered as the Holy Family. Our parenting skills may be a little rough around the edges, too—especially if we compare ourselves to Mary and Joseph. Who among us hasn’t lost their cool over a child’s unpredictable actions or unexpected remarks? We’re all familiar with the vortex of worry and anxiety that our children can throw us into at times.
No matter how far short we fall from the ideal, we can still learn to weather the storms of parenting by working together as a couple, by letting love overcome guilt or anger, and placing our questions and needs before our heavenly Father.
Jesus seemed very far away during Mary and Joseph’s three-day ordeal. But all the time, he was waiting for them in his Father’s house. There will be times when our own children seem far from us, too. But as members of God’s family, sooner or later we can expect to find each other in our Father’s house. In the meantime, let’s consecrate our families to Jesus and ask him to teach us to how to live in the same faith and trust that Mary and Joseph knew.
“Father, you blessed Mary and Joseph for their unity and love. Let your Holy Spirit unite our family as well.”
(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.)
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- The first reading addresses the “honor” and “respect” due our parents. If your parents are still alive, what practical steps can you take to demonstrate more honor and respect for them? Consider also asking them to forgive you for any times that you fell short of giving them honor and respect. If your parents are not alive, you may still want to repent to God for those times. And, of course, to pray for them.
- In the Responsorial Psalm, we are told to “fear the Lord and walk in his ways.” What do the words, “fear the Lord” mean to you? What are the blessings of fearing the Lord?
- St. Paul, in the second reading, tells us that the authentic atmosphere of a profoundly Christian life is made up of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, thanksgiving, and above all, love. How can you foster these characteristics in a greater way in your family life? In your relationships with other family members?
- In the Gospel, we see the Holy Family as a model of unity and love in spite of their anxious response to their difficult three-day separation from Jesus. We also see Jesus, in spite of being filled with the urgency to be in his Father’s House, nevertheless, living in whole-hearted obedience to Mary and Joseph. How easy it is for the “urgencies” of our lives to keep us from being more obedient to God’s plan. What are some steps you can take during your busy days to be more in tune with the Lord’s will and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you?
- The meditation ends with these words: “let’s consecrate our families to Jesus and ask him to teach us to how to live in the same faith and trust that Mary and Joseph knew.” How important is it to you to consecrate your families to the Lord? Why?
- Take some time now to consecrate your families to the Lord, asking that they live in unity and love and in faith and trust – as Mary and Joseph were able to do. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.