of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year C)

As an example for us to follow, the Holy Family can seem a little too perfect: when we consider the more “dramatic” events of the Christmas and Easter story, it can seem so far removed from us. And yet, as today’s Gospel reminds us there were also the so-called “hidden years” - the many years of family life in Nazareth, spent in ordinary things. During that time, we hear how Jesus grew and matured, and in the glimpse of that family life we see our example. Our celebration of this feast announces that there is a lasting value in the ideals of family life, and the relationship between husband, wife, parents and children. Whatever the changing details of each age, honour, understanding and love always remain the recipe for the perfect, and holy, human family. It is love that we put on over all the other clothes of changing cultures and places, to guarantee the life of the family in imitation of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Samuel 1:20-22;24-28
We mirror the Gospel story of Jesus being found in the Temple at Jerusalem, with the story of Hannah presenting her son, Samuel, in the Temple at Shiloh. Since this is a story, it is fairly easy to read. (Note: don’t worry about the names - pronounce them as written; an “ephah” is a measure, about 45 litres). The point that is made here is the same as in the Gospel: that the earthly family must acknowledge the heavenly Father - and that sometimes that Father calls some to his special service.
Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-2.21-24
Here we think not about the physical “holy family”, but the “spiritual holy family” which is the Church. Just as Jesus and Samuel acknowledged their Father in His Temple, so we should acknowledge that we are God’s children, by living out the commandments - believing in the name of Jesus. This reading starts with an invitation to “think” - encourage the congregation to do so in your tone of voice throughout the whole reading. This reading promises a wonderful glory for God’s children - allow that to come out in your reading. Be confident when reading about the commandment, and end on a warm and comforting note when talking about the gift of the Spirit.

From the Catechism

The Holy Family
CCC 531-534
The Christian family, a domestic Church
CCC 1655-1658, 2204-2206
Duties of family members
CCC 2214-2233
The Finding in the Temple
CCC 534, 583, 2599
534 "The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus. Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?" Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary "kept all these things in her heart" during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life."
Hannah and Samuel
CCC 64, 489, 2578
We are God’s children now
CCC 1, 104, 239, 1692, 1709, 2009, 2736
We shall see him face to face and be like him
CCC 163, 1023, 1161, 2519, 2772

Gospel Wordsearch

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