Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY: THE FINDING OF JESUS AT THE TEMPLE

Lk 2:41-52


WE CELEBRATE THE feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday that immediately follows the solemnity of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. This feast is an opportunity to reflect on the quality of our own family life in the light of the Holy Family Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

We would be thinking that the Holy Family must have been an extremely happy family. But, like every ordinary family, it had also experienced joys and sorrows. It had its share of struggles and difficulties.

Let us reflect on the important moments of the gospel:

Firstly, the Holy Family went for a pilgrimage. The gospel says, “Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.” Joseph and Mary, in the company of Jesus, went as pilgrims to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover.

This kind of pilgrimage would mean an education in prayer. We could surmise that the Holy Family would go each Sabbath to the synagogue to listen to readings of the Scripture, and to praise the Lord with the assembly. But on this occasion, the parents, Joseph and Mary, bring Jesus to Jerusalem for a day of prayer. Throughout the day they would pray together.

In the same way, the Catholic parents are expected to be the first teachers of the faith for their children. As such, it is the responsibility of the parents to introduce their children to the Church, and to teach them the basic prayers.

Secondly, Jesus was missing. As the caravan of pilgrims was on its way home, Mary and Joseph suddenly realized that the Jesus is not with them. They began to become anxious. They could not find Jesus in the caravan, so they went back to Jerusalem and looked for him everywhere. Finally, after three days, they found him in the Temple having discussions with the teachers.

Mary was not completely appreciative and she asked Jesus, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Jesus responded to his mother, “Why were you looking for me? Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Mary and Joseph must have been confused because Jesus answered “my Father”. They did not completely grasp what Jesus meant by it.

Thirdly, at the end of that pilgrimage, Jesus returned to Nazareth. At their home in Nazareth, Jesus surely remained close to Mary and Joseph. The gospel says that Jesus “was obedient to them.”

A home or a family is a place where a child can learn some important values. That is why the big responsibility lies on the parents. In the case of Mary and Joseph, what have been learned by Jesus were the values of obedience and affection. There are more values that modern parents can teach and share to their children. In the First Reading, we hear of the values of honor and respect for parents. In the Second Reading, St Paul speaks of values such as, kindness, humility, patience and forgiveness which can be keys to enriching family relationships. Furthermore, spending quality time together is something that children would appreciate. AMEN.


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