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THE HOLY FAMILY of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

26 December, 2020

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

holy family 1

Gospel reading: Luke 2:22-40

vs.22 When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
vs.23 – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord –
vs.24 and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
vs.25 Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
presentation of Jesusvs.26 It had been revealed to him by the Holly Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord.
vs.27 Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required,
vs.28 he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
vs.29 “now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised;
vs.30 because my eyes have seen the salvation
vs.31 which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
vs.32 a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.”
vs.33 As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him,
vs.34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “You see this child; he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected –
vs.35 and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.”
vs.36 There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Ashev. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years
vs.37 before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer.
vs.38 She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
vs.39 When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
vs.40 Meanwhile the child grew to maturity and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.


We have four commentators available from whom you may wish to choose . Scroll down to the name of the commentator.

Michel DeVerteuil :     A Trinidadian Holy Ghost Father, late director of the Centre of Biblical renewal .
Thomas O’Loughlin:  Professor of Historical Theology University of Nottingham NG7 2RD : Liturgical Resources for Advent& Christmas Years A,B, and C
Sean Goan:                       Studied scripture in Rome, Jerusalem and Chicago and teaches at Blackrock College and works with Le Chéile
Donal Neary SJ:        
Editor of The Sacred Heart Messenger and National Director of The Apostlship of Prayer.


Michel DeVerteuil
Lectio Divina with the Sunday Gospels

General Comments

The passage for this Sunday is very long, and we have to stay with some aspects only.

It is highly significant that when Jesus entered the Temple the priests were absent. Simeon and Anna are symbols of God’s faithful ones, having no official status and yet – or perhaps therefore – free enough to recognise the decisive moment of grace for their people and for all humanity.

It is also significant that the Holy Family are among the poor who are excused from the more expensive sacrifices and are allowed to bring “a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons” (see Leviticus 5:7; 12:8).

As throughout his first two chapters, St Luke stresses here that everything is done “according to the Law of the Lord.”

Scriptural Prayer Reflection

Lord, we go through life just living day to day as best we can,
– bringing up our children;
– doing our jobs;
– socializing with friends, going to parties, playing games;
– going to church and doing our bit in the parish.
Then, every once in a while, you send us someone,
a distant relative, a friend, a spiritual guide,
who does for us what Simeon did for Mary and Joseph
– welcomes us with enthusiasm,
blesses us for fulfilling a long-held hope for the world,
leaving us surprised and wondering
at these wonderful things being said about us.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth;
it is not peace I have come to bring but a sword.”  …Matthew 1:34

Lord, forgive us for making the message of Jesus so comfortable,
a word that tells us we don’t have to try and change the world we live in
because it will never be different.
We pray that your church will be like Simeon
proclaiming to all that Jesus comes into the world
to separate good from evil, to exalt virtues like humility,
generosity and trust where they are not valued,
and to confront arrogance, meanness and self-centerdness
wherever they are found.
As for us who, like Mary, are called to bring Jesus into the world,
a sword of sorrow will pierce our hearts, because through our words
the deep-seated prejudices of many will be laid bare.

“The secular school explains things and creates knowledge;
the religious school teaches how to contemplate things and creates wonder.”.. .Anthony de Mello

Lord, often those who follow our education programs,
both in schools and in parishes, are not taught to see the world with new eyes.emmaus 1
Like everyone else they are dazzled by power and wealth and set great store by them.
We pray that these programs will be temples
out of which people like Simeon will emerge,
able to recognize that a small group of humble people coming to do what the Law requires
are the men and women who are the hope for the future,
the light of the world and the glory of your people Israel.


 Thomas O’Loughlin
Liturgical Resources for the Year of Matthew

Introduction to the Celebration

Today we continue to meditate in our assembly on the mystery of the incarnation, and to focus our thoughts we reflect that the Word made flesh was born into a human family, in a particular culture, and so knows all our limitations from, as it were, the inside. It is because Jesus knows us through and through that he can sympathise with us in our weakness and we can have confidence in calling on him for his mercy.

Homily Notes

1. The story of the presentation in the temple is one of the events of the infancy narratives from which Luke wishes us to draw information for our understanding of the true and full identity of Jesus.

2. The task is, therefore, to go through the gospel text and draw out the series of images Luke wishes to convey, and through them build up a mosaic of the identity of the Lord.

3. Here is a list working through today’s gospel text:holy family 2
He was born within the context of the Law of Moses.
He was born under the Law.
He is the one whom the righteous and devout awaited.
He is the desire of the prophets who sought the consolation
of Israel.
He is God’s salvation prepared in the presence of all peoples.
He is a light to all nations.
He is the glory of the people of God.
He is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel.
He is a sign that is spoken against.
He is the one whom the women prophets awaited.
He is the redemption of Jerusalem.
He is the one filled with wisdom.
He is the one on whom the favour of God rests.

4. We celebrate the mystery of God among us: we could go right through the gospels adding titles and descriptions — and yet we would still not have plumbed the depths of the identity of our saviour. Today we think of him especially as the infant in the manger, but he is also the Word through whom all things were made and without him was not anything made that was made. To follow him is life, but we will never grasp his identity for he draws us into the mystery of God.


Sean Goan
Let the Reader Understand

Gospel: Luke 2 :22-40

Since the gospel of Mark has no infancy narrative or reference to the early life of Jesus, the gospel for today’s feast is taken from Luke and it reports the wonderfully moving scene of Mary and Joseph bringing their newborn son to the temple to consecrate him to the Lord. In the plan of Luke’s gospel it is important because it stresses the value of the faithful piety of those Jews who waited with abiding trust in God for the coming of the redeemer. Simeon and Anna are put before us as models of patient endurance whose whole lives have been directed towards God and who have trusted in his saving will. This attitude has already been evident in the response of Mary and Joseph to all that has taken place and it will continue to characterise their lives as they return to Nazareth and watch their son grow to maturity in a world that will reject him.


Mary and JosephIn the gospel for today we see Mary and Joseph presenting their newborn son to God in the temple. It was a symbolic gesture pointing to the reality of their faith. Just like all those who had gone before them in faith, this young couple were being asked to put their trust in God. It was not easy then and now in the twenty- first century with all our reliance on knowledge, certainty and contracts, it is still not easy. Going into the third millennium the Christian family needs to stand out as a sign to the world that to be truly human we must not try to play God but rather be willing put our trust in the God revealed in the holy family of Nazareth.


Donal Neary SJ
Gospel Reflections


God is Not Fussy!

In the gospels Jesus’ family life is hardly described. Like all of us family life would have been a big influence in his life. Because of its importance, the Church has always placed a great value on family.

A new reality now is that family life now very varied:  divorced and separated parents, gay parents, widowed parents; while caring for all, the church proposes the family of mother and father where possible as the ideal.

We commit ourselves as a church to solutions of homelessness and poverty in families. We need to be aware of the stresses of family life, to understand them and find funding for caring for them, especially children.

No matter what there are stresses in family life – the sacrament of marriage promises the help of God and the community.

The church encourages family prayer, like visiting the crib with children at Christmas, and making the most of religious occasions in the family.   The gospel today is about the life of Jesus growing in humanity and wisdom. He was brought to the temple; Mary and Joseph taught him to pray.

There is a special presence of God in the family: in close love God is present. In all the aspects of family life.

God isn’t very fussy where He lives and moves and has his being- sometimes it’s even in a wonderfully imperfect family!

May the prayers of Mary and Joseph help us in our family life?
Bless us, o Lord, with the joy of love,
and strengthen all families in your loving care.