Celebrate Sunday Mass - FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY - 12.27.20

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12/27/2020 (3 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Dec 27, 2020 -- FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. The response to offering these beautiful liturgies has been overwhelming. The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them before we assist at Holy Mass.

Our first reading is an excerpt from the Book of Sirach. In it, as well as in our Responsorial Psalm, we are reminded that marriage and the family are an integral part of Gods loving plan for salvation. Further, that all the relationships within the family present us with an invitation to learn how to love and grow in holiness.

In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we have the family redeemed by grace, elevated to the level of a Sacrament, a source of grace for others. In our own age, when marriage and the family are under assault from anti-Christian forces, it is urgent that Catholic and other Christian families recognize once again that the family is Gods loving plan and, by His grace, seek to live as holy families, calling the world away from a rejection of Gods loving plan to a new response of embracing that plan and finding the true happiness which the Lord offers.

Our Second Reading is an excerpt from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians. During the Octave (eight days) of Christmas we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family today. The significance of the Feast becomes much more meaningful when we consider the deeper truths it reveals. Yes, it teaches us about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. But it also speaks to each one of us how to live differently in our own families.

Through our Baptism, we are invited to live our lives in Jesus Christ by living them in the Church - which is the Risen Body of Christ, His Mystical Body. Through the Church, Jesus continues His redemptive mission. We are all a part of that mission. The Church is the place where we learn, as the Apostle Paul reminded the Colossian Christians, to "...put on love, that is, the bond of perfection". (Col. 3:14)

Christian families, since the earliest centuries of the Church, have been called the "domestic church." Do we live our family life this way? We can if we ask the Lord for the grace we need to do so. 

Our Gospel reading on this Feast of the Holy family is taken from the Second Chapter of the Gospel of St Luke. Jesus is brought to the temple by Joseph and Mary. Certainly, this was to fulfill the prescriptions of the Jewish Law. But it means so much more. Listen to these words:

"Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said: 

Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have made ready in the sight of the nations; a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel..." Simeon knew that the child Mary and Joseph presented was the very Son of God, the Messiah promised to Israel. 

After the Presentation in the temple, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus back to Nazareth. Jesus spent 30 of his 33 earthly years in Nazareth. Some spiritual writers have called these the "hidden years" because there is so little written about them in the Gospel narratives. However, they reveal the holiness of ordinary family life and show us how it can become extraordinary for all those who are baptized into Christ. 

In the holy habitation of Nazareth Jesus transformed daily family life. Already blessed as God's plan for the whole human race and the first society, Christian marriage and the Christian family have been elevated in Christ. Christian Marriage is a Sacrament, a vehicle of grace and a sign of God's presence. 

The Church proclaims Christian marriage, and the family founded upon it, is also a vocation, a response to the call of the Lord. In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we can learn the way of love in the School of Nazareth. 

May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day.   

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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