HOMILY FOR FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY - SUNDAY 26TH DECEMBER 2021

Fr Roger O'Neill, Gorey



In the Gospel, when Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the Temple, he is “busy with [his] Father’s affairs”.

Jesus is busy at the Lord’s service in the Temple, of course Jesus is Lord!

Mary and Joseph do not understand the encounter, but we can see looking back with the eyes of faith, this event is one of the earliest indications of who Jesus is and what his role will be.

The Temple is of great significance in this story, for in the Old Covenant between God and his chosen people Israel, the Temple was where God dwells on earth. It is within the Temple Sanctuary in the Holy of Holies, where the people encounter God, in blood sacrifice for the atonement of sins.

The Priests of old go from the people, taking the peoples sacrificial offering to the altar of God and then return from God to the people. This must be done constantly, over and over again.

Jesus changes everything!

He comes from the Divine family of, Father, Son & Holy Spirit and is born into the earthly family of Mary and Joseph of King David’s house.

In Jesus, God makes his chosen people Israel, his family.

Jesus is given by the will of God the Father, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, he is God the Son, he is the King of Israel, he is the Priest, he is the Offering made by God in atonement for sin, once and for all. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the World”.

In Jesus, God reconciles the Human Family and creation is made anew!

God blesses the basic cell of the human family in Mary and Joseph, making the family Holy and fruitful by his own progeny, Jesus, who is life.

The Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is the model for the human family and in fact the model for the whole Church.

Isn’t it extraordinary that the simple, ordinary model of family has been raised by God to such an honour!

It is very reassuring that God is with us and not aloof from our human condition. “Our God has appeared on the earth, and lived among us”.

Together in prayer, let us call on the Holy Family to help us in our family relationships:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist my now and in my last agony.

Jesus Mary and Joseph, may I bring forth my soul in peace with you. Amen.