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Friday, December 30, 2011

Feast of the Holy Family

Feast of the Holy Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Feast of the Holy Family instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1892, is celebrated on the Sunday following Christmas, unless that Sunday is January 1st, in which case it is celebrated on December 30th. This feast commemorates the family life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, promoting their model of faithful love, obedience and devoted attachment to each other to be imitated by all Christian families.

The Sacrament of Marriage which unites man and woman establishes a family, the vocation of which is to support each one of its members on their path of discovery of God and the plan he has ordained for them.

Pope Benedict XVI
Feast of the Holy Family
January 1, 2007
On The Holy Family
Living Image of the Love of God
"In the Gospel we do not find discourses on the family but an event which is worth more than any words: God wanted to be born and to grow up in a human family. In this way he consecrated the family as the first and ordinary means of his encounter with humanity.

In his life spent at Nazareth, Jesus honored the Virgin Mary and the righteous Joseph, remaining under their authority throughout the period of his childhood and his adolescence (Luke 2:41-52). In this way he shed light on the primary value of the family in the education of the person.

Jesus was introduced by Mary and Joseph into the religious community and frequented the synagogue of Nazareth. With them, he learned to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as the Gospel passage offered for our meditation by today's liturgy tells us.

When he was 12 years old, he stayed behind in the Temple and it took his parents all of three days to find him. With this act he made them understand that he "had to see to his Father's affairs", in other words, to the mission that God had entrusted to him (cf. Lk 2:41-52).

This Gospel episode reveals the most authentic and profound vocation of the family: that is, to accompany each of its members on the path of the discovery of God and of the plan that he has prepared for him or her. Mary and Joseph taught Jesus primarily by their example: in his parents he came to know the full beauty of faith, of love for God and for his Law, as well as the demands of justice, which is totally fulfilled in love (Romans 13:10).

From them he learned that it is necessary first of all to do God's will, and that the spiritual bond is worth more than the bond of kinship. The Holy Family is truly the “prototype” of every Christian family that, united in the sacrament of marriage and nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, is called to carry out the marvelous vocation and mission of being a living cell not only of society but of the Church, sign and instrument of unity for the whole human race.”

The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task. CCC 2205

Holy Family - Michaelangelo
Holy Family - Claudio Coello
Holy Family - Gaetano Gandolfi
Holy Family - Murillo
Finding Jesus at the Temple - William Holman Hunt

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