Archive for December 26, 2020

Feast of the Holy Family

Posted: December 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Our True Home: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family

Sirach 3:2–612–14
Psalm 128:1–234–5
Colossians 3:12–21
Luke 2:22–40

Why did Jesus choose to become a baby born of a mother and father and to spend all but His last years living in an ordinary human family? In part, to reveal God’s plan to make all people live as one “holy family” in His Church (see 2 Corinthians 6:16–18).

In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We’re to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” as the First Reading puts it. The family advice we hear in today’s readings—for mothers, fathers, and children—is all solid and practical. Happy homes are the fruit of our faithfulness to the Lord, we sing in today’s Psalm. But the Liturgy is inviting us to see more, to see how, through our family obligations and relationships, our families become heralds of the family of God that He wants to create on earth.

Jesus shows us this in today’s Gospel. His obedience to His earthly parents flows directly from His obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary aren’t identified by name, but three times are called “his parents” and are referred to separately as his “mother” and “father.” The emphasis is all on their their familial ties to Jesus. But these ties are emphasized only so that Jesus, in the first words He speaks in Luke’s Gospel, can point us beyond that earthly relationship to the Fatherhood of God.

In what Jesus calls “My Father’s house,” every family finds its true meaning and purpose (see Ephesians 3:15). The Temple we read about in the Gospel today is God’s house, His dwelling (see Luke 19:46). But it’s also an image of the family of God, the Church (see Ephesians 2:19–22Hebrews 3:3–610:21).

In our families we’re to build up this household, this family, this living temple of God. Until He reveals His new dwelling among us and says of every person: “I shall be his God and he will be My son” (see Revelation 21:37).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How can it be that the world has seen a great light on Christmas day and the very next day is plunged into ‘darkness’? How do we move from the birth of Jesus to the birth of the first Martyr?

If we are true witnesses of the light of Christ who has been reborn in our hearts this Christmas; then like St Stephen we know that until such time we are reunited in Heaven we will have to face the challenge, hardships of witnessing our faith amidst great opposition! For we live in a world riddled with sin! Where men and women are easily blinded by temptation. Christmas for many in this trying time of the pandemic is a welcome distraction! Hope is in the air… Time to party! We can sober up tomorrow! Prayer? What prayer? Reflect and share the word of God this Christmas? Are you joking? Family prayer time? Bah humbug! Did you expect me to respond to call for a zoom prayer meeting during this festive season? Too busy with family and social activities, I’ll start (try) again after the new year has begun!

What if St Stephen gave up? And adopted the “Can’t beat them, let’s join them?” attitude. Or make peace and live to fight another day? Well then I reckon he would not have been filled with the Holy Spirit, his eyes would have been downcast and so would not have seen the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand.

We all may not have to face the physical death of a Martyr but we can all experience spiritual death if we refuse to stand up for the truth to be found in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Amen

St Stephen pray for us…

First reading
Acts 6:8-10,7:54-59 ·
The martyrdom of Stephen

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
    But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’

Matthew 10:17-22

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.
    ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.’