The Holy Family

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Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Luke 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted–and you yourself a sword will pierce–so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Opening prayer: Lord, make me aware of your presence beside me, within me. I want to quiet my heart, my racing thoughts, and listen to your voice. 
Encountering Christ: 

  1. The Most Ordinary Extraordinary Family: The Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Incarnate Son of God, came to dwell in a small town in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph. No one can imagine a more special family, yet, in many ways they were ordinary. There was nothing extravagant about their lives. Joseph was a carpenter, Mary a handmaid like many others. When Jesus came to Earth, he could have chosen any place in the world of noble origin or wealthy background. Yet, he chose a poor, simple family to be born in. They had no need to follow the earthly traditions of consecrating Jesus to the Lord, but they did. Jesus followed the customary laws, studied the scriptures as he was taught by his parents, played, slept, and did his chores. He experienced everything about being the son of a human family. He took on our nature to consecrate it to the Father; and Mary and Joseph, in their ordinariness, were part of this extraordinary mission. 
  2.  “Poor So We Might Become Rich”: Two pigeons were what poor families offered as part of this ritual consecration ceremony. Jesus, the King of Glory, from his birth joined in the offerings of the poor. It isn’t the Holy Family’s poverty that we esteem, but the totality of the gift they made of their hearts in that consecration. Their poverty allows us to see that material possessions are to be ordered as a means to the greatest possession of all, the kingdom of love, which dawned as Mary held that baby in her arms. The entire plan of salvation was revealed to Simeon and Anna, hidden behind a simple offering of two pigeons. 
  3. The Child Grew: God designed the human family as a school of love and communion, where members can grow strong and wise in favor with him. According to the Catechism, “the family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society” (CCC 2207). Jesus was born into a family to teach us what it means to be human and to consecrate family life. Each contemporary family is a domestic church (Lumen Gentium 11).

Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to find you today in the ordinariness of my life. I want to offer what I have, my poverty, and let you fill me with yourself. I thank you for the gift of my family.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I ask you to show me a way in which I can express my love, service, or gratitude to a member of my family. 
For Further Reflection: Reflect on the beatitudes (Matthew 5) as a way of living a self-offering to God in poverty of spirit like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived. 
Gaby Ruiloba is from Aguascalientes, Mexico. She consecrated her life to God in Regnum Christi in 2009 and currently ministers at Everest Collegiate High School & Academy in Clarkston, Michigan. 

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