Friday, December 30, 2005

The Feast of The Holy Family

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. Normally, this feast falls on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's (also a Holy Day - the feast of Mary, Mother of God), but with those days falling on Sundays, this feast got "bumped."

The Gospel reading for today (Luke 2:22-40) tells of Mary and Joseph bringing the baby Jesus to the temple to consecrate him to the Lord. Here the prophet Simeon tells Mary "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel . . .and you yourself a sword shall pierce." We also have the prophetess Anna, an old woman who lived in the temple, who hears the good news of the baby Jesus and then goes out to spread the good news to all who would listen.

It's hard to imagine what Mary might have thought as she heard Simeon's words. The gospel tells us that "she kept all these things in her heart" (Luke 2: 51)While others, like Anna, rejoiced at the coming of the Savior, I wonder if she ever hesitated. While she willingly said "yes" to the angel and was willing to take on her role in salvation history, I imagine at times she questioned the cost. Jesus was her little boy. As he played in Nazareth, she must have feared the future that was to come. No mother ever wants to see her son hurt. She knew the role he was to play, and her part in it was to sacrifice all that she had.

Dear Mary, please help us to willingly sacrifice to help our children to fulfill the roles God has given them. Amen.

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