December 31st

December 31st

     The Feast of the Holy Family focuses on the Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This celebration usually occurs on the first Sunday after Christmas. The Church wants us to see the important link between the birth of our Redeemer and the family.
     During these days, many of us have taken part in rich traditions passed onto us by our families. These customs bear witness to the truth that God has entered into human history in the middle of a family and as a part of a family. This underscores the importance of families.
     The celebration of the Holy Family tells us that there is much we can learn about remaining faithful to God as we reflect on the experiences of their family life. The angel made separate announcements to Mary and Joseph about their role in Salvation History. As the baby Jesus grew, He taught us how to deal with obedience to legitimate authority, the hardships of daily life and how to grow in wisdom and grace before God. Mary and Joseph taught Him traditional prayers and piety, for example, He learned to call God, Father. Many of those lessons we continue to practice today.
     Our Lord sanctified and elevated the family; it is noble and has purpose. Saint Pope John Paul II called the family, “The Domestic Church.” It is there, in the family, that babies are born and baptized. It is there that children learn to pray. If you look, you will discover many blessings in the family, because 2000 years ago, our Lord chose to be born in just such a place.

Prayer of Pope Francis—for Families

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.
Amen.