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The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Year B – Homily

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Year B
(Please note there are different options for the readings)
Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3
Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9 (7a, 8a)
Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Luke 2:22-40
December 27, 2020

On Christmas Day Jesus was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger.  Now, “When the days were completed for purification, according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”

Mary and Joseph are good Jewish parents.  They do what is “written in the law of the Lord” for their new son, Jesus.  They do it not just as a ritual obligation.  They do it to truly “present him to the Lord.”  God is part of their family.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are the Holy Family.

Entering the Temple, they encounter Simeon who was “righteous and devout.”  He put the Lord first.  The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would “not see death” until he had seen the Christ.  Now, he has, and he praises God for it. 

Simeon, praising God, refers to Jesus as God’s salvation, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles glory for your people Israel.”  He said to Mary, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted.” 

Anna, a prophetess, also gives thanks to God when she encounters Jesus.

The Holy Family does what God asks of all of us.  They are a sign to us of what God desires for all families, holiness. 

God desires for us to come to church to give praise and to be strengthened.  However, church is not the only place we should practice our faith.  It needs to begin in the home.

Do you pray at home?  For those with families, do you pray together?  Do you give thanks to God?  Do you talk about our faith?  Do those of you who are parents teach your children prayers and read the Bible?  For those who are grandparents, it is often grandparents today who are the primary witness of faith to their grandchildren.  Likewise, godparents are to be witnesses of faith to their godchildren.

The church uses the term “domestic church” to describe families practicing and sharing their faith at home. 

Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple “in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”  They did in this faith.  This was the beginning of faith for their child, not the end.

For babies today, it is the Sacrament of Baptism that we offer them.  We do so as custom.  We do so because Jesus tells his disciples to baptize.  However, we do so not just in obligation.  We do so in faith.

We pray for faith.  We pray to have the same strength of faith as Abraham did.

The Lord promised Abram, who will be renamed Abraham, a great reward.  Abram/Abraham replied, “O Lord God, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless.”  Abraham and Sarah desired a child to be a family and to have an heir.  God had not yet blessed them with a child but God assures Abraham he will.  Abraham’s descendants will be as numerous as the number of stars in the sky and the sands on the shore.

They simply had to wait in faith.  God gave them Isaac.

By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out…not knowing where he was to go.” 

By faith, he received power to generate.

By faith, Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac.

As humans, we receive the gift of reason.  We have a desire to know things.  We come with questions.  We seek factual answers.

However, we are not going to have all the answers, at least in human terms.  God wants us to use our reason to come to know him.  God also wants us to have faith, to trust him. 

We are not going to have all the answers.  We aren’t meant too nor it is in our ability to.  We know in faith that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus without knowing how.

In faith, we know that God forgives us when we confess our sins without our meriting it.

In faith, we see life is a gift.  It may not always be easy but God is always with us.  In January I will be starting a new series of webinar on life issues (see http://blog.renewaloffaith.org/blog/?p=5477 for more information).

We don’t understand all of life’s sufferings.  Yet, we know that Jesus willingly suffered for us.  So, in faith, we accept what comes before us.

Let us remember what God has done for us in the past, how He “remembers his covenant for ever.”  Let us “proclaim all his wondrous deeds.”  It starts in the family.  Let us strive to be holy just as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were holy.  We ask their intercession upon all families, to know God’s love for them.

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