Dec 302011

December 30 is the sixth day of Christmastide and the octave of Christmas

Feast of The Holy Family

Holy Family

Since 1969, this feast is celebrated on the first Sunday after Christmas. When Christmas occurs on Sunday, it is celebrated on December 30 because the first Sunday after Christmas is New Year’s Day, which is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. When instituted in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, it was celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany.

We know few facts about the Holy Family which leaves us to make several assumptions.

Based on the descriptions of Joseph and Mary, they would have kept a traditional Jewish home. We can imagine they followed all the teachings of the Scriptures and that Jesus learned the trade of Joseph. We know Jesus was obedient to His parents (no surprise there) and that He grew in wisdom.

While the Holy Family is held up as the model for the perfect Christian family, it was not what we would consider a normal family by traditional standards:

  • Jesus was conceived while Mary and Joseph were engaged but before he took her into his home so there must have been rumors of Mary’s loose values.
  • Joseph was Jesus foster father.
  • The Holy Family were immigrants to Egypt.
  • Jesus was an only child.
  • Mary was a widow and single mother for part Jesus life.

The family is the foundation of a society. When a society and therefore a country is struggling, look at the strength of the families. One way to celebrate this feast is to pray for your family. Pray for healing (what family is not in need of healing) and strengthening of the bonds of your family. Being in a family is not easy nor is leading a family. Be humble enough to seek help and be willing to help other families. The future of our society is counting on it.

Six Geese A-Laying

Six Geese-a-LayingToday’s gifts are Six Geese A-Laying representing the six days of creation. These are six female geese since they lay eggs. Geese were one of the first domesticated animals and were (when this song was written) plentiful in English and French barnyards. As we know from the Cratchit family, a goose was the Christmas meal of the common people.

Today’s Readings

These are the readings for the Feast of the Holy Family which might not be the readings for the day.

 Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Lectionary: 17)

“May the Holy Family, who had to overcome many painful trials, watch over all the families in the world, especially those who are experiencing difficult situations. May the Holy Family also help men and women of culture and political leaders so that they may defend the institution of the family, based on marriage, and so that they may sustain the family as it confronts the grave challenges of the modern age!” ~ Pope John Paul II Prayer from Angelus Message for the Feast of the Holy Family 2004.’