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December 25, 2020
December 27, 2020

Luke 2:22-40 Feast of the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:22-40

A. Text/Context
• On this feast of the Holy Family the gospel cites on the offering of the child Jesus in the temple by his parents Mary and Joseph together with the purification of Mary and the prophecy of the 2 prophets Simeon and Hannah
• As a practice, they have to offer to God a first born son. And also the mother who has just given birth will also perform a ceremonial purification as part of their cleansing rituals
• The requirement for the purification of Mary according to the law is to slaughter a lamb for an offering
• But if they cannot afford an animal to offer, they may offer 2 pigeons or turtledoves and Joseph and Mary opted for that
• That means that economically, they lived a poor and simple lifestyle
• The Jews have so many purification laws and in fact the whole book of Leviticus in the OT is devoted almost entirely to that purpose
• You will be amused if you read Leviticus because some of our present cultural practices are still rooted in that book of the OT

B. Human Situation
• But the more important part of the gospel is centered on the fulfillment of the prophecy as what was said by Simeon and Anna
• Simeon filled with the Holy Spirit said: Lord, now you let your servant go in peace your word has been fulfilled
• My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people
• Simeon is ready to die because he had seen the savior. The fulfillment of the prophecy is confirmed
• On the other hand Anna, also prophet and an old widow came forward inspired by the HS gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel
• The fulfillment of the prophecy is again confirmed by Anna because she had seen the savior
• If we will reflect on the gospel in this feast of the holy family, there are 2 kinds of fulfillment:
• The first is the fulfillment of the requirements of the law because Mary and Joseph as parents have offered the ceremonial purification in the temple
• The second is the fulfillment of the prophecy the joy of the parents and the prophets and the whole people of Israel that finally after hundreds of years of waiting the savior is in their midst as seen by the prophets
• Many prophets have prophesied about the Messiah but usually they no longer live to see its fulfillment
• But here is Simeon and Anna who have grown old but so happy to see the savior with their very own eyes
• They have never grown weary of waiting when will they ever see the Lord in their lifetime
• And now it is fulfilled and they are all ready to retire
• The gospel tells us of the very basic roles of parents and children in the family
• First and foremost the parents in the exercise of their duties of parenthood are obliged to provide for the basic needs of their children; food, clothing, shelter, education
• And most of all, the parents are obliged to provide a home where an atmosphere of love reigns
• This is the 1st fulfillment of the parents. Whatever state of economics they belong the family will be happy if the basic needs coupled with love and harmony are provided
• The 2nd fulfillment of the parents is a more difficult one, the rule of discipline must be imposed so that the children will grow as good Christians, when grownups, they can fend off for themselves independently
• I always hear that from the parents; my children all finished school I am ready to retire
• Of course, your obligation does not really stop because when you are already old and grey you are also expected to grow in wisdom
• They will come to you because you have become a wise father and mother because of your long experience of raising children
• You will still give advice to your grown up children but this time the difference is that you do not impose anymore because they are already free and independent
• If these barriers of respect are violated, for sure, there will be trouble
• The children are expected to follow the discipline of the parents
• Why? Because the children who are not yet in the age of reason can hardly determine what is right or wrong
• Why would the parents say to the teenagers focus on your studies first your love affairs can wait
• Because their bodies are all ready and set for reproduction but their minds are not yet ready. The emotions that they feel are still very unstable because they are not yet mature
• What they decide today maybe good for a short period and they can change anytime
• So the parents and the teenagers both have to learn the art and the rigors of discipline
• Most of all, the children must respect and obey their parents
• It is already emphasized in the 1st reading in Sirach that the children who cared for their parents will live a long life
• The children must remember this promise of the Lord, you will live longer when you love and care for your parents
• Of course, we are talking only about the ideal family setting; the father, the mother, the children
• What about dysfunctional families? Broken marriages, child out of wedlock, illegitimacy, single parenthood, etc.
• What will be the fallback of the members of these dysfunctional families?
• You see, in the canticle of Simeon the first part is beautiful “… my own eyes have seen the salvation you have prepared
• But after that there is a warning to Mary: and you yourself, a sword shall pierce
• A sword shall pierce! These are the sufferings of all kinds of families
• That is why in the 2nd reading, St. Paul is telling us of the greater family of God
• As he said: and over all these, put on love, the bond of perfection and let the peace of Christ control your hearts
• We have a social and moral obligations to assist those who are in need

C. Challenge
• So my dear brothers and sisters in this feast of the holy family the Lord is reminding us of the duties of love from a husband to a wife and as a father to the children
• The duties of love from a wife to a husband and as a mother to the children
• The duties of love, respect and obedience from the sons or daughters to their parents
• And in the greater family of God, the Lord reminds us that we have the social and the moral obligations to care for those who have nobody to fall back to

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Luke 2 verse 22-40

Luke 2 verse 22-40

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