Emulating the Holy Family – Sunday Synopsis

Justine John Dyikuk

Justine John Dyikuk

Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. Justine J. Dyikuk

December 26, 2021.

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Readings: 1 Sam 1:20-22.24-28; Responsorial Psalm 84:2-3.5-6.9-10(R.5a);

1 Jn. 3:1-2.21-24 & Gospel Luke 2:41-52.

Theme: Emulating the Holy Family.

Sunday Synopsis

The first reading recounts the story of Hannah and Elkanah as aged parents who had no children. In the second reading, Saint John informs that we are God’s children because the Father has lavished so much love upon us. The gospel tells the story of how Jesus got missing in Jerusalem during the feast of Passover at the age of 12. It recounts how his parents found him in the Temple sitting among the doctors, listening to them. Mary stored all those things in her heart [and], the child Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favour before God and men. Our liturgy challenges us to uphold the sacred institution of marriage even as we pray today for widows, widowers, orphans, divorcees and those who are not enjoying their marriage.

Introduction

Beloved in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. It gives us another opportunity to reflect on the family towards finding a panacea to the factors militating against this most ancient but noble institution. Based on our liturgical readings, we shall consider the background of the readings and four functions of the family as given by Pope Saint John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio (1981, no.17) which include, forming a community of persons, serving life, participation in the development of society and sharing in the life and mission of the church.

Background & Summary of the Readings

The first reading (1 Sam 1:20-22.24-28) recounts the story of Hannah and Elkanah as aged parents who had no children. Hannah was constantly in the presence of the Lord at Shiloh asking for the gift of a child. “…I will bring him and present him before the lord and he shall stay there forever” she had promised. When the Lord fulfilled his promise, this virtuous woman did not waste time in going to Shiloh to present her child to God in fulfilment of the vow she made to him.

In the second reading (1 Jn. 3:1-2.21-24), Saint John informs that we are God’s children because the Father has lavished so much love upon us. He notes that when he is revealed, we shall see him as he truly is. It stresses that as God’s children, we ought to be guided by our conscience through keeping his commandments and overcoming every kind of fear even as we love one another bearing in mind that God’s Spirit lives in us.

The gospel (Luke 2:41-52) tells the story of how Jesus got missing in Jerusalem during the feast of Passover at the age of 12. It recounts how his parents found him in the Temple sitting among the doctors, listening to them, asking them questions and how all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligent replies. His mother expressed worry but the child Jesus told them that he was about his father’s affairs. It notes that he followed them to Nazareth and lived under their authority. The gospel concludes that while Mary stored all those things in her heart, the child Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favour before God and men.

Pastoral Lessons

  1. Overcome Individualism: In a world where there is a growing danger of troubling individualism which deforms family bonds and ends up making each component of the family as an isolated unit, leading, in some cases, to the idea that a person is formed according to his own desires, which are considered absolute, couples are invited to over the troubling danger of individualism by connecting with the Lord always like Hannah in the first reading.
  2. Checkmate Crisis of Faith: In the face of crisis of faith among a great number of Catholics which often underlies crisis in marriage and the family leading to mass exodus Catholics out of the Church, family members are urged to checkmate the anomaly.
  3. Rise above Loneliness: The Synod Fathers observed that many people are suffering from loneliness which arises from the absence of God in their lives leading to the fragility of relationships and so, couples are called to overcome every kind of fear by rising above the challenge of loneliness.
  4. Defeat Poverty/Unemployment: In the face of increasing instances of poverty and unemployment in the workplace as well as the real nightmare of overwhelming financial difficulties which not only discourage the young from marrying but creates a general feeling of powerlessness in the face of socio-cultural realities that oftentimes end in crushing families, families are urged to defeat poverty and unemployment.
  5. Care for Marriage Institution: Because the lack of attention by government and institutions has made most families to feel abandoned as they find it difficult to raise children or take care of aged people who are now seen as a burden thus affecting their emotional balance leading to violence, government and relevant institutions are urged to meet the needs of society by creating employment opportunities.

Summary Lines

  1. The first reading recounts the story of Hannah and Elkanah as aged parents who had no children.
  2. In the second reading, Saint John informs that we are God’s children because the Father has lavished so much love upon us.
  3. The gospel tells the story of how Jesus got missing in Jerusalem during the feast of Passover at the age of 12.
  4. It recounts how his parents found him in the Temple sitting among the doctors, listening to them.
  5. Mary stored all those things in her heart [and], the child Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favour before God and men.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we pray today for widows, widowers, orphans, divorcees and those who are not enjoying their marriage. In the face of the dangers militating against marriage and the family, we are challenged to overcome these challenges in the interest of the stability of these institutions. May God bless and protect us all through Christ our Lord. Happy Sunday!

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