Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are celebrating the great feast of the Holy Family of Jesus our Lord, and His mother Mary and His foster-father Joseph. On this day, in the midst of this joyful season of Christmas when we celebrate the Birth of Jesus into this world, we reflect on the family which Jesus had, the perfect and model family which all of the faithful should emulate.

The Holy Family is a family not built on glamour or the wealth of this world, but on love and rich with the graces of God. It is not just because Jesus Christ our Lord is one of the Family, but because of the active participation of all members of the family, namely Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Jesus was an obedient Son, who listened to His mother even though at times He told her of things which she was not aware of, due to His unique nature of both being God and Man. The perfect example of this would be the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine, listening to His mother’s pleas on behalf of the bride and bridegroom in trouble.

Mary, then, was a loving and caring mother, who was genuinely concerned for her family and first of all, for her Son, Jesus. Mary devoted her entire life caring for Jesus as He grew up from a Baby into His adulthood, ready for the mission for which He entered this life. She followed her through His mission in life and even unto His suffering and death on the cross. She stood by faithfully on the foot of the cross, just as He suffered and died for us, for our sake and to atone for our sins.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph was not related by blood to Jesus at all, but he was related to Jesus through his legal marriage to Mary. As such he became the foster-father of our Lord and Saviour. At first he had his sceptic moment when he found that Mary was pregnant without him even married to him yet. He thought that she was unfaithful to him, but Joseph was a righteous man and a responsible person. For Mary’s own good he wanted to divorce her quietly so that she would not suffer the repercussion.

Joseph was therefore a good father figure to Jesus, and the one likely who taught Him various things in life, educating Him on skills and even perhaps on carpentry. Jesus was likely also a carpenter as His foster-father was. He was an upright man who took his duties and responsibilities seriously. He protected his family well, and he brought them to Egypt to live in exile while those who sought the death of Jesus his foster-Son was around.

All of the members of the Holy Family therefore are good examples for us all. They showed us how we should behave as a family. A family is not built on just mere coincidences, arrangements, or infatuations. A family is built on firm foundation of love, the love that is the same as the love which God had for us. Yes, love that does not perish with goods and love that does not demand a return.

We have to realise today in our world that many of our families are losing their integrity and harmony, because we are losing genuine love in the family. More and more people today are only concerned about themselves and not about others. When members of a family start to put each of them and their own interests above that of the others, then things will certainly not look good for the prospect of that family.

In addition, if we note the readings today talking about Abraham and his wife, Sarah, who had been rewarded by God after many years of fruitless marriage without any children, with the promised child Isaac, who would be the father of many, earning Abraham what God had promised him, that his descendants would number as many as the stars.

Abraham was rewarded because of his faith, as was with Sarah. Sarah did have her skepticism as well, when she heard of the news that she would be pregnant in her old age and give birth to a child, and she even laughed at that. But, eventually, she trusted in God as her husband had, and for this faith they had shown, they bring themselves and make themselves to be a good, harmonious, successful and holy family.

This is another thing often lacking from our lives as a family. We rarely spend time together and each person are busy with their own business and things, so that we end up growing more and more distant with every passing moment. It is no wonder that fights and disharmony arose out of this situation. Remember that there is a saying, ‘A family that prays together, stays together’?

It was not written in the Bible or the Gospels that the Holy Family did this, but it is most likely beyond any doubt, from what we know of the characters in the Holy Family, that Jesus, Mary His mother and His foster-father Joseph often and regularly prayed together to God, at their meals, at the time when they were working, and at many other times.

If we, as a family, pray constantly to God, I am certain that we will grow closer to the Lord, and if we learn to love and be faithful as the Holy Family had been faithful, in how Jesus, Mary and Joseph played their respective roles in God’s plan for our salvation, I am certain, that we will have genuine love, faith and harmony growing in our families.

There will surely be plenty of challenges and difficulties along the way, but if we persevere, we are certain to be able to pull through together and emerge out as families even stronger than ever before. Let us all model our families on the Holy Family, learning to love one another, putting aside our differences and letting go of our ego and pride, that often cause division and destruction to our families.

Families are the basic units of the faithful in the Church, and it is through the family that we can inculcate faith in the future generations. It has been proven that a family that prays together, keeps up hope for one another at times of distress and stay faithful to the Lord will emerge in the end, as truly faithful and devoted children of God. It is often those without good and proper family background that lose out their faith, and as a result are denied forever the hope of salvation in God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be like the Holy Family in our families, staying filled with love and grace, with faith and genuine devotion to the Lord, that at the end of days, all of us will together embrace the Lord our loving Father and be saved together as one family, and as one people. God bless us all. Amen.


First Reading :


Psalm :


Second Reading :


Gospel Reading :

Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 22-40

When the day came for the purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law of the Lord : ‘Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God.’ And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the Law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord.

So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law. Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a sign, a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom : the grace of God was upon Him.


Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 2 : 22, 39-40

When the day came for the purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom : the grace of God was upon Him.


Homily and Reflection :

Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Hebrews 11 : 8, 11-12, 17-19

It was by faith that Abraham, called by God, set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance; for he parted without knowing where he was going.

By faith Sarah herself received power to become a mother, in spite of her advanced age; since she believed that He who had made the promise would be faithful. Therefore, from an almost impotent man were born descendants as numerous as the stars of heavens, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.

By faith Abraham went to offer Isaac when God tested him. And so he who had received the promise of God offered his only son although God had told him : ‘Isaac’s descendants will bear your name.’ Abraham reasoned that God is capable of even raising the dead, and he received back his son, which has a figurative meaning.


Alternative reading (from Readings for Year A)

Colossians 3 : 12-21

Clothe yourselves, then, as is fitting for God’s chosen people, holy and beloved of Him. Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience to bear with one another and forgive whenever there is any occasion to do so. As the Lord has forgiven you, forgive one another.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May the peace of Christ overflow in your hearts; for this end you were called to be one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of God dwell in you in all its richness. Teach and admonish one another with words of wisdom. With thankful hearts sing to God psalms, hymns and spontaneous praise. And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as you should do in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not get angry with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, because that pleases the Lord. Parents, do not be too demanding of your children, lest they become discouraged.


Homily and Reflection :

Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 104 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known His works among the nations. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.

Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always.

Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments, you descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!

He remembers His covenant forever, His promise to a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the promise He swore to Isaac.


Alternative reading (from Readings for Year A)

Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home. Your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.


Homily and Reflection :

Sunday, 28 December 2014 : Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 15 : 1-6 and Genesis 21 : 1-3

After this the word of YHVH was spoken to Abram in a vision : “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your Shield; your reward will be very great!” Abram said, “My Lord YHVH, where are Your promises? I am still childless and all I have will go to Eliezer of Damascus. You have given me no children, so a slave of mine will be my heir.”

Then the word of YHVH was spoken to him again, “Eliezer will not be your heir, but a child born of you, your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” Then YHVH brought him outside and said to him, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that.”

Abram believed YHVH who, because of this, held him to be an upright man. YHVH was kind to Sarah as He had said, and fulfilled His promise to her. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time YHVH had promised. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son that Sarah bore him.


Alternative reading (from Readings for Year A)

Sirach 3 : 3-7, 14-17a (Greek version – Sirach 3 : 2-6, 12-14)

Whoever honours his father atones for his sins; he who gives glory to his mother prepares a treasure for himself. Whoever honours his father will receive joy from his own children and will be heard when he prays. Whoever glorifies his father will have a long life. Whoever obeys the Lord gives comfort to his mother. He serves those who brought him to birth as he would serve the Lord.

For kindness done to one’s father will never be forgotten, it will serve as reparation for your sins. In the day of adversity the Lord will remember it to your advantage; for just as ice melts in the heat, so will your sins melt away. The man who abandons his father is like a blasphemer; he who annoys his mother is cursed by the Lord.

My son, conduct your affairs with discretion and you will be loved by those who are acceptable to God.


Homily and Reflection :