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Posted on Dec 27, 2017

Reflection December 31 2017

The Holy Family

 Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

Mass Readings:

1st Reading:        Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14

Responsorial:     Psalm 128:1-5

2nd Reading:      Colossians 3:12-21

Gospel:                Luke 2:22-40

Becoming Holy Faith-Filled Families, Reflecting God’s Love to One Another

The child’s father and mother were amazed. (Luke 2:33)

So here we are, on the cusp of a new year. It’s the perfect day to reflect on the past year’s blessings and to set our hopes on those yet to come. Imagine all the families that are doing this very thing today—engaging in this “dual vision” of the past and the future.

It’s not hard to imagine the Holy Family doing the same thing as well. They, too, had much to look back on and much to anticipate! Perhaps Mary recalled the angel’s words about Jesus at the Annunciation, “He will be . . . called Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). Joseph must have remembered his dream, when the angel told him to name Mary’s son Jesus, “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Remembering these dramatic interventions must have helped this couple to trust in God’s faithfulness and to know that their future was safe in his hands.

Joseph and Mary weren’t the only ones to engage in this dual vision. Simeon shared his vision with them as well. Holding the infant Jesus, he saw the fulfillment of all God’s promises and the hope for the future salvation of Israel. No wonder they were amazed! Surely his words rang in their ears as they looked back and looked ahead.

What about you? How was God with your “holy family” this year? Maybe you can ask everyone this question at dinner tonight. Were there times of rejoicing, like a new grandchild? Were there moments of sickness or strained relationships? Try to identify how God has been with you through it all. But don’t only look back—look forward too. How has the past year prepared you for the blessings to come? Maybe God is just beginning to unfold something new in your life. How can you embrace it?

This is a day to be amazed at God’s blessings—and to know that even better things have yet to come!

“Thank you, Lord, for being with us this year. Help us stay close to you in the new year as well.”

 Download this reflection with discussion questions here.  

(Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. For more information on how to subscribe to their devotional magazine, go to www.wau.org).


Sunday, December 31, 2017

 Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

  1. In the first reading, the book of Sirach teaches us of our responsibilities to our father and mother: “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children, and, when he prays, is heard. Whoever reveres his father will live a long life; he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.” The reading ends with these words: “My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins —a house raised in justice to you.”
  • How would you describe the rewards that go along with honoring our fathers and mothers?
  • How do you (or did you) stack up against the responsibilities towards honoring your father or mother, as de-scribed in the reading? Are their some steps you can take to improve it, even if it only involves forgiving them?
  1. The responsorial psalm opens with these words: “Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored.” It goes on to describe some of the “fruits” within the family: “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants around your table.”
  • What does “fear of the Lord” mean in your life? What are the positive and negative sides of this fear?
  • Why do you think fearing the Lord and walking in his ways can have such positive fruits in a family?
  1. The second reading begins by describing the ways that we, as Christians, should relate to one another: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.”
  • Which of these ways of relating to others, outside or within your family, is the Lord asking you to follow in a deeper way?
  • The reading also reminds us that forgiveness is a gift we have received from the Lord, and that “as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” To whom is the Lord asking you to give the gift of forgiveness to?

4. The Gospel reading describes the events surrounding the Holy Family’s trip to Jerusalem with Jesus “to present him to the Lord.” It includes these words of Simeon to Mary in the temple: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

  • What do you think is the meaning of the words that Simeon spoke to Mary?
  • What can you learn from the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and how they lived as a holy, faith-filled family that you can apply to your own family?
  1. The meditation is a reflection on the Gospel reading and ends with these words: “What about you? How was God with your ‘holy family’ this year? Maybe you can ask everyone this question at dinner tonight. Were there times of rejoicing, like a new grandchild? Were there moments of sickness or strained relationships? Try to identify how God has been with you through it all. But don’t only look back—look forward too. How has the past year prepared you for the blessings to come? Maybe God is just beginning to unfold something new in your life. How can you embrace it? This is a day to be amazed at God’s blessings—and to know that even better things have yet to come!”

Let’s consider the questions posed in the words above from the meditation:

  • “How was God with your ‘holy family’ this year? Were there times of rejoicing? Were there moments of sickness or strained relationships?”
  • “How has the past year prepared you for the blessings to come? Maybe God is just beginning to unfold something new in your life. How can you embrace it?”
  1. Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for being with you and your family, and all Christian families, and for the grace to draw ever closer to him. Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.

“Thank you, Lord, for being with us this year. Help us stay close to you in the new year as well.”

[The discussion questions were created by Maurice Blumberg, who is currently a member of the board of directors of the Christlife Catholic Ministry for Evangelization (www.christlife.org/) and a member of the National Service Committee Council of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (www.nsc-chariscenter.org). Maurice was also the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men and a former chairman of the board of The Word Among Us (www.wau.org). He can be contacted at (Enable Javascript to see the email address) mblumberg@wau.org or mblumberg@aol.com.}