Feast of the Holy Family First Reading: Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14
For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother; he will serve his parents as his masters. O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him. For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 128:1-5
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-21
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
I am just going to jump right in here—who wants to be told to be subject to your husband? I think this phrase is often used to undermine both love and marriage. But like all of The Word it is truth.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it fitting in the Lord.
That doesn’t mean ‘do whatever crazy thing he says.' It means be subject (dominion, control, conditional, or influence), as it agrees with that which the Lord has asked of us. As members of Christ’s family, we are to do everything in His name while giving thanks. Even (especially) the tough stuff.
Following this comes: Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. They are to love us and not to be harsh—if they are living this out in truth then every request from those husbands comes from their love for us, and we are to do it out of love for the Lord when it is fitting in God.
Are we perfect? Nope. Are they perfect? Nope. But I am not going to use someone else’s imperfection as an excuse to ignore what Saint Paul says is required of me. Are there times when we are going to disagree with our spouse? You betcha. And in those times of disagreement we are to pray, and talk it over as adults, and evaluate if what we are asked to do is fitting to Him. Marriage is tough. I have only been married fourteen years, but in that time I have had to listen when I didn’t want to listen, share when I didn’t want to share, and do some things that I would rather not do. My spouse, out of love for me has also done some things he would rather not do. But God is challenging each of us to think about our actions, and to grow in our relationships with others and with Him.
Today is fittingly the Feast of the Holy Family. In this family we have a beautiful example of how to live out all of today’s readings. Can you imagine if Mary had told Joseph he was nuts in wanting to take her to Egypt? Or leave Egypt when they had ‘just’ gotten settled in Egypt? We have very few scriptural references to Joseph, but the ones we do have present him as a holy and good man who act decisively out of love for Mary. And of course Mary—well she is just amazing in her service and humility and love for God. Saints Mary and Joseph pray for us!
MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.