The Feast of Holy Family
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Mass Readings for the Feast of Holy Family are here for reference.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
Looking today at that Holy House, our thoughts turn to the many families of our time who are in difficult situations. Some of them suffer from extreme poverty; others are forced to seek in foreign countries what they unfortunately lack in their homeland; still others find within their own families serious problems caused by the rapid cultural and social changes which at times overwhelm them. And what can be said of the many attacks on the family institution itself? All this shows how urgent it is to rediscover the value of the family and to help it in every way to be, as God wanted it, the vital environment where every child who comes into the world is welcomed with tenderness and gratitude from the moment of his conception; a place marked by a serene atmosphere that encourages the harmonious human and spiritual development of all its members.
May the Holy Family, whom we venerate today, obtain this gift for every family and help them to be a little "domestic church", a school of human and religious virtues.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 31 December 2000)
1. Today, a few days after Christmas, the Church contemplates the Holy Family. At the school of Nazareth every family learns to be a workshop of love, unity and openness to life.
In our day a misunderstood sense of rights sometimes troubles the very nature of the family institution and of the conjugal bond. People who believe in the importance of the family based on marriage should join forces at all levels. The family is a human and divine reality that should be defended and promoted as a fundamental social good.
2. Christians, the Second Vatican Council recalls, attentive to the signs of the times, should actively "promote the values of marriage and the family, both by the example of their own lives and by cooperation with other men and women of good will" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 52). We must proclaim the Gospel of the family with joy and courage. To this end, let us raise our common prayer to Jesus, Mary and Joseph for all families, and for those in material and spiritual difficulty in particular.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Angelus, 28 December 2003)
Jesus was introduced by Mary and Joseph into the religious community and frequented the synagogue of Nazareth. With them, he learned to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as the Gospel passage offered for our meditation by today's liturgy tells us.
When he was 12 years old, he stayed behind in the Temple and it took his parents all of three days to find him. With this act he made them understand that he "had to see to his Father's affairs", in other words, to the mission that God had entrusted to him (cf. Luke 2: 41-52).
This Gospel episode reveals the most authentic and profound vocation of the family: that is, to accompany each of its members on the path of the discovery of God and of the plan that he has prepared for him or her.
Mary and Joseph taught Jesus primarily by their example: in his parents he came to know the full beauty of faith, of love for God and for his Law, as well as the demands of justice, which is totally fulfilled in love (cf. Romans 13: 10).
From them he learned that it is necessary first of all to do God's will, and that the spiritual bond is worth more than the bond of kinship.
The Holy Family of Nazareth is truly the "prototype" of every Christian family which, united in the Sacrament of Marriage and nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, is called to carry out the wonderful vocation and mission of being the living cell not only of society but also of the Church, a sign and instrument of unity for the entire human race.
Let us now invoke for every family, especially families in difficulty, the protection of Mary Most Holy and of St Joseph. May they sustain such families so that they can resist the disintegrating forces of a certain contemporary culture which undermines the very foundations of the family institution.
May they help Christian families to be, in every part of the world, living images of God's love.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 31 December 2006)
Today's Liturgy presents the famous Gospel episode of the 12-year-old Jesus who stays behind in the Temple in Jerusalem unbeknown to his parents who, surprised and anxious, discover him three days later conversing with the teachers. Jesus answers his Mother who asks for an explanation that he must "be in his Father's house" that is God's house (cf. Lk 2: 49). In this episode the boy Jesus appears to us full of zeal for God and for the Temple. Let us ask ourselves: from whom did Jesus learn love for his Father's affairs? As Son he certainly had an intimate knowledge of his Father, of God, and a profound and permanent relationship with him but, in his own culture he had of course learned prayers and love for the Temple and for the Institutions of Israel from his parents. We may therefore say that Jesus' decision to stay on at the Temple was above all the result of his close relationship with the Father, but it was also a result of the education he had received from Mary and Joseph. Here we can glimpse the authentic meaning of Christian education: it is the fruit of a collaboration between educators and God that must always be sought. The Christian family is aware that children are a gift and a project of God. Therefore it cannot consider that it possesses them; rather, in serving God's plan through them, the family is called to educate them in the greatest freedom, which is precisely that of saying "yes" to God in order to do his will. The Virgin Mary is the perfect example of this "yes". Let us entrust all families to her, praying in particular for their precious educational mission.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 27 December 2009)
(see our extracts with pictures in Encouragements-181) 8-)
Mary and Joseph’s anxiety about Jesus is the same as that of every parent who educates a child, introduces him or her to life and to understanding reality. Today, therefore, it is only right to say a special prayer to the Lord for all the families of the world. Emulating the Holy Family of Nazareth, may parents be seriously concerned with the development and upbringing of their children so that they grow up to be responsible and honest citizens, never forgetting that faith is a precious gift to be nurtured in their children by their own example.
At the same time let us pray that every child be welcomed as a gift of God and be supported by the love of both parents in order to increase, like the Lord Jesus “in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
May the love, loyalty and dedication of Mary and Joseph be an example to all Christian couples who are not the friends or masters of their children’s lives, but rather are custodians of this incomparable gift of God.
The silence of Joseph, a just man (cf. Matthew 1:19), and the example of Mary who kept all these things in her heart (cf. Luke 2:51), usher us into the mystery of the Holy Family, full of faith and humanity. I hope that all Christian families will live in God’s presence with the same love and the same joy as the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 30 December 2012)
The message that comes from the Holy Family is first of all a message of faith. In the family life of Mary and Joseph, God is truly at the centre, and He is so in the Person of Jesus. This is why the Family of Nazareth is holy. Why? Because it is centred on Jesus.
When parents and children together breathe in this climate of faith, they have an energy that allows them to face even difficult trials, as the experience of the Holy Family shows, for example, in the dramatic event of their flight to Egypt: a difficult ordeal.
The Baby Jesus with his Mother Mary and with St Joseph are a simple but so luminous icon of the family. The light it casts is the light of mercy and salvation for all the world, the light of truth for every man, for the human family and for individual families. This light which comes from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in those family situations in which, for various reasons, peace is lacking, harmony is lacking, and forgiveness is lacking. May our concrete solidarity not diminish especially with regard to the families who are experiencing more difficult situations due to illness, unemployment, discrimination, the need to emigrate.... Let us pause here for a moment and pray in silence for all these families in difficulty, whether due to problems of illness, unemployment, discrimination, need to emigrate, due to difficulty in understanding each other and also to disunion. Let us pray in silence for all these families....
Let us entrust to Mary, Queen and mother of the family, all the families of the world, that they may live in faith, in accord, in reciprocal aid, and for this I invoke upon them the maternal protection of the One who was the mother and daughter of her Son.
Pope Francis I (Homily, 28 December 2014)
Today’s Gospel passage invites families to welcome the light of hope that comes from the home of Nazareth, in which Jesus’ childhood unfolded in joy. Jesus, says St Luke, “increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man” (2:52). The nuclear family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is for each believer and especially for families an authentic school of the Gospel. Here we admire the fulfilment of the divine plan to make of the family a special community of life and love. Here we learn that every Christian nuclear family is called to be a “domestic church”, to make the Gospel virtues shine and become a leaven of good in society. The classic traits of the Holy Family are: reflection and prayer, mutual understanding and respect, and a spirit of sacrifice, work and solidarity.
From the exemplary witness of the Holy Family, each family can find precious guidance for the style and choices of life, and can draw strength and wisdom for each day’s journey. Our Lady and Joseph teach us to welcome children as a gift of God, to beget them and raise them, cooperating wonderfully in the work of the Creator and giving to the world, in each child, a new smile. It is in a united family that children bring their existence to maturity, living out the meaningful and effective experience of freely given love, tenderness, reciprocal respect, mutual understanding, forgiveness and joy.
I would like to pause above all on joy. The true joy which is experienced in the family is not something random and fortuitous. It is a joy produced by deep harmony among people, which allows them to savour the beauty of being together, of supporting each other on life’s journey. However, at the foundation of joy there is always the presence of God, his welcoming, merciful and patient love for all. If the door of the family is not open to the presence of God and to his love, then the family loses its harmony, individualism prevails, and joy is extinguished. Instead, the family which experiences joy — the joy of life, the joy of faith — communicates it spontaneously, is the salt of the earth, and light of the world, the leaven for all of society.
May Jesus, Mary and Joseph bless and protect all the families in the world, so that in them may reign the serenity and joy, the justice and peace which Christ by his Birth brought as a gift to humanity.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 27 December 2015)
On this first Sunday after Christmas, we are celebrating the Holy Family of Nazareth, and the Gospel invites us to reflect on the experience lived by Mary, Joseph and Jesus, as they grow together as a family in mutual love and in trust in God. The rite performed by Mary and Joseph, in offering their son Jesus to God, is an expression of this trust. The Gospel states: “they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” (Lk 2:22) as Mosaic Law required. Jesus’ parents go to the Temple to attest that their son belongs to God and that they are the guardians of his life, and not the owners. And this leads us to reflect. All parents are guardians of their children’s lives, not the owners, and they must help them to grow, to mature.
This gesture emphasizes that God alone is the Lord of individual and family history; everything comes to us from him. Each family is called to acknowledge this primacy, by protecting and educating children to open themselves to God who is the very source of life. From here passes the secret of inner youth, paradoxically witnessed to in the Gospel by an elderly couple, Simeon and Anna. The elderly Simeon, in particular, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says in regard to the Child Jesus: “this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against [...] that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (vv. 34-35).
These prophetic words reveal that Jesus has come to tear down the false images that we make of God and also of ourselves; to “speak against” the worldly certainties on which we insistently rely; to make ourselves “rise” to a true human and Christian journey, founded on the values of the Gospel. There is no family situation that is precluded from this new journey of rebirth and resurrection. Each time that families — even those that are wounded and marked by frailty, failures and difficulties — return to the source of the Christian experience, new roads and unexpected opportunities open.
Today’s Gospel narrative recounts that when Mary and Joseph “had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew” — the Gospel says — “and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him” (vv. 39-40). Children’s growth is a great joy for the family, we all know it. They are destined to grow and become strong, to acquire knowledge and receive the grace of God, just as happened to Jesus. He is truly one of us: the Son of God becomes a child, agrees to grow, to become strong; he is filled with knowledge, and the grace of God is upon him. Mary and Joseph have the joy of seeing all this in their son; and this is the mission to which the family is directed: to create conditions favourable to the harmonious and full growth of its children, so they may live a good life, worthy of God and constructive for the world.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 31 December 2017)
Note: This webpage has many hyperlinks to the Vatican Webpage. The above extracts were compiled for your easy reading.
This Publication is aimed to encourage all of Goodwill around the World. It is not for business or profit purposes but it is our way to thank our Creator for His continuous blessings!
Compiled on 30 December 2018