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Posts Tagged ‘Feast of the Holy Family’

Download Feast of the Holy Family

Reflection Questions

  1. Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. Each of the readings provides a reflection on how family life is lived so as to lead us into ‘holiness’.
  2. The Book of Wisdom – or Sirach – arrives at a reflection on the commandment to Honor one’s Parents. Implied is a respectful relationship between Parents and children. The covenant relationship with God is mirrored in relationship to Parents. This relationship is lived through prayer and obedience, forgiveness and justice. Consider the ups and downs Mum and Dad have been through in raising your family. How do you currently show and practice ‘thankfulness’? As Parents grow old, ‘the mind fails’ what do you do that may ‘grieve them’? How do you show ‘kindness’?
  3. Family life has struggles and difficulties. The Community of Colossae that Paul is writing to is struggling greatly with Jewish christians welcoming ‘Gentiles’ – (Greeks) into the Christian community ‘family’. St Paul writes about the ‘Family Code’ also called the ‘Holiness Code’. We are all called to ‘put on’ the white garment of baptism and the new life of Jesus that we live. In the Church (or your Family), who is included or excluded? Which attitude do you recognise could be practiced more by you in your ‘family’. How could you allow ‘peace’ to control your hearts?
  4. Subordinate (“under”) reflects the customs of the early Roman times. Christians were keen to live by the ‘family code’ to show Roman authorities that they were not dangerous to government. Is order in family life healthy? What ‘order’ do you have in the family? Home? How is ‘bitterness’ resolved? What arguments arise over children’s behaviour and obedience? What attitudes or behaviours ‘provoke’ and ‘discourage’ your children? Does the Word of God dwell richly in your home? Is there any singing and praying and showing gratitude to God?
  5. Joseph is revealed as a man who faithfully responds four times to a message from an angel. 1st to take Mary – pregnant – home to be his wife. 2nd to become a refugee and take his wife and newborn baby into a foreign land (Egypt). 3rd to return to Israel with an uncertain political leader and future. 4th responding to a warning about where to live. Imagine yourself in each of these 4 examples. What do you learn about Joseph? What would Mary’s experience have been at each of these moments? What does this teach you about the ‘Holy Family’? How obedient are you in prayer when you notice an inspiration and desire from God?
  6. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?


Download: Feast of the Holy Family

Reflection Question: Jesus was born in a violent world. King Herod was both paranoid and ruthless. Scared of another leader rising to take his thrown he killed his two sons and his wife out of fear of this happening. He now kills every newborn child. Mary’s Magnificat joy was also a fearful teenage pregnancy with shame, community concern and gossip. A long and uncomfortable pregnant journey on a donkey. An unwelcomed arrival for her birth in Bethlehem. No clean and sterile hospital birth. Joseph’s shame at not being able to provide for comfort and the hospitality of his Bethlehem family at his wife’s first birth.  Concerns and thoughts still arrive to haunt his sleep. Who is the Father? Will we be safe? Can I find work?

Are Joseph’s nights filled with dreams, or are they nightmares? Obedient Joseph again says Yes to God after his dream prayers – fleeing with other refugees across unwelcome borders. Now a refugee family. Immigration officials. Suspicious looks. Foreign languages. Concerns again for work. Feeding the family. His tools left behind in a hurry. Haunting stories of slaughtered children. Joseph knows it all.

Mary experiencing all the newborn baby questions and struggles without support. Heat and cold, uncomfortable donkey travelling. Mary and child alone and frightened while husband and Dad searches for work. Food. Safe haven. Political dictators. At the whim of feared and ruthless rulers. Peoples afraid to return home. Mary knows it all.

The Holy Family are not ‘holy’ because they had a perfect and comfortable life. God shocks us with the risk and immersion into our history, its violence and unpredictable twists. Joseph and Mary are poor. Face immense challenges probably well beyond any normal family endure. There are no fine clothes, prestigious schools, expensive cars. Instead the courageous and daily continued Yes which they both said to God and the angel in prayer those many months ago.

We see in Jesus the influence of Mary and Joseph and the Holy Spirit. His knowledge of the scriptures, promises pondered over difficult nights. His love and concern for the poor, forged through suffering, pain and deep family struggle. His obedience to the Father, modeled endlessly by Joseph and Mary.

  • What image do you have of the ‘Holy Family’? What new appreciation do you have of the Holy Family after considering some of the social and political data behind the scenes of Gospel stories of Christmas and the infancy of Jesus?
  • What challenge do you hear to create and live in imitation of the Holy Family?