For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/123018.cfm
This Sunday we observe the Feast of the Holy Family. This Feast celebrates Jesus’ birth into our world as a member of the human family of Mary and Joseph. It also reminds us that the Holy Family is a model for our own families.
When I was growing up it used to be very easy to say what a family was. It was a mom and dad and any number of kids. Through the years, however, I have had to continually expand my understanding of family. I say this because I have come to realize that families come in all shapes and sizes What is most important in regard to families (of whatever configuration) is that they are characterized by loving relationships. At their best they are marked by lives lived out in care and service of one another and the broader community. Clearly this was the case with the Holy Family.
Our Gospel this Sunday is the story of the finding of Jesus in the Temple. This story illustrates well the relationship of love that existed in the Holy Family. Note that there is no display of anger, no recriminations, and no resentment. Rather there is mutual respect, an effort at understanding, and above all love. Would that all families manifested these qualities.
There are two options for our first reading this Sunday. The one we will use at the Basilica is from the book of Sirach. This book is part of the Wisdom literature included in our Catholic Bible. If it is included in Protestant Bibles it is usually under the heading of “apocrypha books”. Following the theme of the Gospel, the section we read today reminds us of the ideals of family life: honoring and reverencing parents, caring for them, and exhibiting love and kindness toward them.
We also have two options for our second reading this weekend. The one we will use at the Basilica is from the First Letter of St. John. In this reading we are reminded that “We are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- I once heard a speaker say that families should be defined by bonds of love versus bonds of relationship. Do you agree or disagree?
- How would you define a family?
- Have you ever thought of yourself as a child of God?