for Sunday, December 28, 2014
We celebrate the Holy Family today. The readings talk mostly about Abraham
and Sarah, until the Gospel, when we see the child Jesus with His parents.
Why Abraham and Sarah? Because their child was also a surprise.
In the Book of Genesis, God promises Abraham a son with Sarah. Nothing
happens. They begin to think that God must have meant something else.
Sarah gives Abraham her servant, Hagar, to have a child with. God returns
to tell them: No, Sarah will have a son with Abraham. That brings lots of
laughter. Abraham and Sarah are so old they know that it is impossible.
The lesson for them and for us: nothing is impossible for God.
The Letter to the Hebrews goes even further with the story of Abraham and
Sarah. Abraham is put to the test and told to sacrifice Isaac, his only
son. What an odd story this is. The teaching is clear, however: we do
God's will and God will watch over us. We must be prepared to sacrifice
all that is most dear to us.
The Gospel from Luke today is about the presentation of Jesus in the
temple. Again, it is a gentle family scene, with two parents bringing
their child to give that child to the Lord. In the temple, both Simeon and
Anna recognize in some mysterious way that this child is the One sent by
God, a special child indeed. How they recognize Him we do not know. That
they do recognize Him is clear from the story.
We return to the theme of the Holy Family. What an unusual family this is!
When we begin to reflect, however, we might see that every family is
unique and special and unusual. Some families have one child, some have
several, some have lots of children. Some families seem to go through life
without much challenge and others seem to be challenged all the time. This
Holy Family went through periods, as far as we know, without many problems
and then there was suffering. We don't know when Saint Joseph dies. We do
know of the suffering of this special child.
We are invited to reflect today on the mystery of this Holy Family and on
the mystery of our own families and on the mystery of what it is to be a
family. In all of this, if we see deeply, we see the face of God who loves
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Genesis 15.1-6; 17.3b-5, 15-16; 21.1-7++
Second Reading: Hebrews 11.8, 11-12, 17-19
Gospel: Luke 2.22-40
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: