Thoughts on the Readings for the Solemnity of the Holy Family (A) 2014

Readings:          Sirach 3: 2-6;  12-14          Colossians 3: 12-17          Matthew 2: 13-15; 19-23

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.    This celebration reminds us that Jesus Christ was born into the human family of Mary and Joseph.   Interestingly, while the Holy Family has always been venerated, this feast didn’t become part of our liturgical calendar until 1921.   It encourages us to see the Holy Family as a model for all Christian families. 

In our three year cycle of Sunday readings, we are in the “A” cycle, which means our Gospel readings  for this year will come primarily from the Gospel of Matthew.   In our Gospel this weekend, we read that “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.   Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.’”   Joseph did as he was told and the Holy Family stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod.   After Herod had died, an angel once again appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him: “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel.”    Joseph again did as he was told and “he departed for the region of Galilee.  He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth.”  

Joseph’s openness to God’s will, his dedication to and love for Mary and Jesus, and his steadfastness in faith are really a model for all believers.   Additionally, they are virtues that should be manifested in all families.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Sirach.  This book primarily offers advice on family life.   The opening sentence is an example of this.  “God sets a father in honor over his children, a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.”  

Our second reading this weekend is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians.  In the section we read this weekend Paul reminds us how we are to live as disciples of Jesus:  “Brothers and sisters:  Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another………………...”

Questions for Discussion/Reflection:

  1. Joseph was open to God’s will and work in his life.  How do we come to know and then remain open to God’s will?  
  2. I don’t think Joseph always had clarity in regard to why/where God was leading him, yet he remained steadfast in faith.  How do we remain steadfast in faith?  
  3. How do we “put on” the virtues Paul mentioned in our second reading today? 
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