Sunday Gospel reflections: We can help create holiness

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

"Jesus among the doctors" by Paolo Veronese (1528–1588). Photo: Public Domain

Family life (whether lived in a marriage or in a chosen community) is never perfect. Often there is worry and suffering. But we can help create holiness in our life together by adopting practices of shared respect, forgiveness, love, and caring.

We can learn about being a holy family from Sunday’s Gospel. For example, Mary and Joseph do not seem to blame each other when Jesus is left behind in Jerusalem. Together they take responsibility, return, and search for their young son. Surely an important aspect of a holy family is the respect Jesus’ parents show each other and Jesus. Imagine how frantic Mary and Joseph must have felt. Yet, when they find Jesus, they are not harsh. They simply tell him they are not pleased and that they have certain expectations of him.

As for Jesus, what he did made sense to him: In Judaism, at age 12 a boy assumes responsibility for his faith and in this regard becomes an adult. Jesus was like many young people at puberty. In the excitement of this move toward adulthood, they forget about the need to communicate with their parents, and yet they are not fully equipped for adult life. Jesus, fully human, was entering the transition years familiar to parents of teenagers. Knowing he is well-loved, he willingly returns home to continue growing toward the fulfillment of his vocation.

 — Beth Porter


Sirach 3:2–6, 12–14 or 1 Samuel 1:20–22, 24–28

Psalm 128:1–2, 3, 4–5 or Psalm 84:2–3, 5–6, 9–10

Colossians 3:12–21 or Colossians 3:12–17 or 1 John 3:1–2, 21–24

Luke 2:41–52

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