CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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God bless our family

The liturgical calendar commentary posted on the catholicculture website tells us this;

“Scripture tells us almost nothing about the first years and the boyhood of the Child Jesus. All we know are the facts of the sojourn in Egypt, the return to Nazareth and the incidents that occurred when the 12-year-old boy accompanied his parents to Jerusalem.

“In her liturgy the Church hurries over this period of Christ’s life with equal brevity. The great challenges to the family, however, at the end of the past century and at the beginning of our own, prompted the popes, especially the far-sighted Leo XIII, to promote the observance of this feast with the hope that it might instil into Christian families something of the faithful love and the devoted attachment that characterise the family of Nazareth.

“The primary purpose of the Church in instituting and promoting this feast is to present the Holy Family as the model and exemplar of all Christian families,” the commentary tells us.

What scriptures, however, do tell us is that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were refugees who fled in fear of their lives and who, even when returning after the main threat had passed, were still not sure of their safety.

The infancy narratives in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels vary considerably, since the details presented in them do not fit well together; however, the themes and messages they contain give us truths to we should well consider.

Whom might we be excluding in failing to welcome refugees, strangers or exiles? “Just as you did or did not do it to one of the least of these, you did or did not do it to me,” Matthew tells us in chapter 25.

We need to bear in mind that the scriptures continue to apply to life 21 centuries on.

This is another feast celebrated within the Octave of Christmas. In previous times, this day was called the Naming of Jesus or the Circumcision of Jesus.

It is also New Year’s Day and the World Day of Prayer for Peace. But in Old Testament Law, a boy child was not a son of Abraham or a true part of the family until his circumcision had taken place and the
usual time to do it was at eight-days-of-age.

So, one of the events in Christ’s life, which is referred to in the readings for the liturgy on January 1, eight days after his birth, is his circumcision.

In addition, the tenth day of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3) and the 40th day of Christmas celebrates the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (February 2).

Asking that your family may be blessed with unity, peace and mutual love would be an appropriate prayer to prayer during this coming week.

May our father have the strength, wisdom and prudence. May our mother be pure, kind, gentle and self-sacrificing. May our children be obedient and devoted as they grow in wisdom and grace.

 

 

           l Diocese of Sandhurst