1st Reading: 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.
2nd Reading: Col 3:12-21 or Col 3:12-17
Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.
Gospel: Mt 2:13-15, 19-23
When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son. When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean.
HOLY FAMILY: The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is an example of a Holy family. Each member of the family is well aware of his or her responsibilities and fulfills them. Including piety and praying “A family that prays together stays together”. Seek to understand God’s plan and will and fulfill it in life. Jesus’ family, Mary and Joseph, were successful because they put God’s will first in their lives. It included love, forgiveness, and helping one another. Each obeyed the other in what pleased God. They respected each other, helped each other and educated each other. The letter to the Colossians clearly states that the recipients of the Gospel are God’s elect as they enter into God’s chosen nation. He reminds them that they are loved so that they may clothe themselves with love, kindness, goodness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiving one another. Let us emulate the holy family.
Prayer: O Lord, your grace enables us to follow the example of the holy family in the bounty of the home and to unite in love.
A CARING FAMILY: Mary and Joseph had to go through the challenges that parents go through while bringing up their children. Empathising with Joseph, how hard it may have been to hear the words , “Do you not know that I have to be in my Father’s house” (Luke 2:48-50). This was after a long search filled with worry. Even at this, Joseph remained calm. He brought up Jesus with a fatherly love. Many times, we tend to mistreat orphans who are within us yet we are Christians. This is not pleasing in God’s eyes. Let us use the Holy Family as our model and treat all children well.
RECREATING A LITTLE HEAVEN HERE: Blessings for those care for their parents are broadly outlined in the book of Sirach. Parents are not just biological originators. They are God’s visible face on the earth. Family, the little cell in the society, the smallest unit of human organization, is a great phenomenon without which proper growth and grooming of the individual cannot be imagined. Joseph and Mary is the model of families not because everything was perfect and set in their house, or because they had a divine member with them. They were not shielded against troubles and wants. In fact, their family seemed to hop from one trouble to another, scaled up one mountain after another. Christian family is the little church, the place where the real initiation and training happens. At a time when this institution is in great danger of disintegration we need to call in the Divine. We must ask Him to get involved in our families. If God couldn’t do without the cushioning atmosphere of the family for His only Son, neither can we. We must redeem our families from individualism, coldness, insensitivity and sin. Let us resolve to do all that we can, any personal sacrifices, any generosity to safeguard our families.
THE PROMISE: God never fails to fulfill his promise, even when it appears impossible in human eyes. He promised Abraham many descendants, and fulfilled it, starting with the birth of Isaac (Gen 25:1-3). In this, Abraham also acquired the name father of faith. Through Abraham, all who worship the one true and living God become Abraham’s descendants by faith. Similarly, the family of Mary and Joseph, was founded on faith in God, leading to the birth of Jesus in this family. In the Holy Family, God fulfilled his promise of salvation to humanity. Simeon, whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that he will not see death before seeing the Messiah, was happy to witness the fulfilment of God’s promise (Lk 2:25-32). God’s Word never goes to waste. For God’s promises to be fulfilled in our families, we too must be people of unwavering faith in God, like Abraham, Joseph and Mary. Only then shall countless blessings from God be poured upon us and into our families.