The Holy Family

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

Untitled Document
Table of Contents
The Liturgical Year


Advent - Week 1

Advent - Week 2

Advent - Week 3

Advent - Week 4


The Holy Innocents

The Holy Family

New Years Day - Feast of Mary the Mother of God

Golden Agers

The Feast of the Epiphany

The Baptism of the Lord

Lessons of Christmas


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This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The Feast of the Holy Family holds up for our inspiration and imitation the holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The family is the fundamental unit of society. It is the first society established by God. It is also the first society we belong to. We are identified by our family. Our last name is our family name. The family is also the fundamental unit of the Church. The Second Vatican Council calls the family the “domestic Church.” It is in the family that we first learn about Jesus. It is in the family that we learn to pray and live as a Christian.

Let us take a visit to Nazareth and see what life was like in the Holy Family. The first thing we notice is the love that reigns there. Each has a deep respect and love for the others. There is no envy, jealousy or resentment. Each wants the other to have the better part. Here in the Holy Family we have the first concrete illustration that there is only one love. Love of the neighbor and love of God are really one and the same thing. When Mary and Joseph loved one another and the child Jesus they were really loving God. “Whatever you do to one of these least brethren you do to me.” “If anyone says that he loves God whom he does not see and does not love his neighbor whom he does see is a liar.” The Holy Family is also illustrating the love is not found in words love is found in deeds. It costs to be a lover. The language of love is sacrifice.

The next thing we notice in this family is that authority is exercises and respected. Joseph was constituted guardian and he acted as head of the family. Later on Jesus could speak with authority because he had first learned to be obedient. Luke tells us that Jesus went down to Nazareth and was subject to Mary and Joseph. And he grew in wisdom, age and grace before God and man. That is all we know about 9/10th of his life. And at the end of this hidden life his Father said at his Baptism, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

The third thing we notice about this Holy Family is that it is a life of labor. Mary must have made all of the clothes for Jesus and Joseph and for herself. She also did all of the cooking and all of the housework. In those days there were no labor saving devices such as deep freezes, microwaves, washers and dryers. Joseph was a carpenter and took pride in his work. He also supplied all of the wood for the stove and did all of the maintenance around the house. Jesus helped Mary around the house until he was old enough to work with Joseph in the carpenter shop. He knew what it meant to have calluses and be tired.

Here in Nazareth the Holy Family is teaching us that a holy, happy family life does not depend on the depth of the lawn, the size of the house or the number of cars in the garage. It depends on the intensity of love, the exercise and respect for authority and hard work. But you say how is such sanctity possible in family life today? The question rather should be how is family life possible today without such sanctity?


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