Homily Feast of the Holy Family Year B

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Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family Year B

Reading 1: The author of the Book of Sirach builds upon the Fourth Commandment of God: Honor your father and mother.  The basis for this command is our relationship with God and our relationship with our parents, who have been given to us by God.
From the outset the reading identifies the authority of parents over their children as coming from God. Thus, whatever honor, obedience and respect we show our parents is ultimately directed to God himself. With this revered respect and honor for parents come promises of many blessings: atonement of sins, answered prayer and blest by one’s own children.

This honor and respect, comfort and care for parents are especially important when they are old and dependent. Kindness to parents at this stage of their lives will not be forgotten.

Why does God give us this direction and admonition? He knows our human frailty and selfishness. In today’s society aged parents are considered more of a burden than a blessing. Some feel that euthanasia should be the norm rather than continual care. 
 Today’s reading speak against that attitude of our culture.  Instead, it reminds us that our elderly parents are still a gift from God and a blessing to nurture, for one day we too may be in the same position.  We should remember the adages of Jesus which apply here. “What you do the least, you do to me.” “The measure which you measure will be measure back to you.”

Reading 2:  Family life and family values are disintegrating. Living in the fast lane, trying to provide a better life than our parents had, being under the pressure gun of society have cause much of this disintegration.

Just as it takes work to have a successful career, it takes work to have a healthy family life. Paul gives us a rule of family life, which makes sense if we see ourselves as God’s chosen ones, called to be holy because we are beloved of God. Let’s do an examination of conscience using this reading.

How compassionate are we to one another in the family and to others? Is love the reason why we do what we do? Does Christ’s peace control our hearts or do we live in anxiety, anger and non-forgiveness?   How thankful are we each day for the many blessings we receive? Do we build each other up in love? Do we consciously try to do all in the name of Jesus in love?

This passage is such a powerful plan of life for each person in the family that it could be reflected and acted on weekly throughout the coming year.
Gospel: A child is a gift from God. Mary and Joseph received the child, Jesus, as a special gift. They were obedient to the word of God and had him circumcised eight days after his birth and brought him to the Temple to dedicate him to God. Have you dedicated your child back to God, recognizing the gift they are to you?

What do we hear in the reading? God reminds Mary and Joseph through the prophetic word of Simeon that because this child is the Messiah of God, he will be a sign of contradiction and a stumbling block to others. He will suffer.  At the same time, even though Mary is the blessed among women and highly favored daughter of God, she too will suffer. A sword shall pierce her heart. But know that God’s plan will be accomplished through obedience to his will both by the Jesus and by Mary.

Mary and Joseph’s suffering would soon begin. They will have to flee from Herod’s attempt to kill this child. They will again experience the suffering of anxiety when Jesus remains in the Temple at the age of 12. Mary’s ultimate suffering will occur as she stands under the cross and endure the cruel death of her son at the hands of those he saves.

Every family experiences their own sufferings. Children make decisions which in turn become a sword in the hearts of their parents. Parents suffer with and because of their children. That which sustained Joseph and Mary, namely, relationship with God in obedience, will sustain today’s family in those moments as well.


Just as God did not prevent Joseph and Mary from their difficult experiences but was with them, so God will not prevent today’s families from the unexpected struggles, but will be with them, giving them the grace to do his will.

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