Gospel Reflection | Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Reading 1

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.


Lk 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.


Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The First Reading reminds us of the honor that both father and mother hold over their children. The reading from the book of Sirach ties back to the fifth commandment that promises “a long life” for those who honor their father and mother (Ex 20:12). It is the only commandment with a promise.

In the Gospel of Luke, we hear Jesus, being fully God and fully man, submit Himself in honor and obedience to His parents, Mary and Joseph. After He is found in the temple, Scripture tells us that “He went down with [His parents] and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them (Luke 2:51).

There is something about honor and obedience that are at the core of the Heart of the Father. He tells the people of Israel in the Book of Hosea “for it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice.” (Hos 6:6) When we obey and honor God, and those who have been given the authority over our lives, we please Him and remain under His blessing and protection.

Mary and Joseph obeyed the Law of the Lord and brought the Child Jesus to Jerusalem after the days were completed for their purification. They did not exempt themselves from the Law because they were chosen to be the parents of God Himself. Rather, they obeyed precisely because of this.

Their obedience brought with itself a gift from God – Simeon and Anna publicly recognized that this was not just any child – He was the awaited Messiah, confirming for Mary and Joseph this truth that they had already been quietly meditating and celebrating among each other.

And so today, let us take a moment to meditate on the life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and their sacrificial obedience to the Father’s will. Let us also think of the tender love, kindness, and honor they offered each other as members of a Holy Family.

Finally, let us bring into mind our own mother or father, or perhaps a sibling who needs deeply of our tenderness and forgiveness, and ask the Lord to give us the grace to extend honor and mercy to them in our hearts today.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


Mass Livestream