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Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

December 27 A..D. 2009

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

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 3:12-17 or 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Luke 2:41-52

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Once a year, the Church celebrates family life. It holds up the example of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Today's Gospel focuses on a stressful experience in their lives when Jesus was twelve years of age. Despite the fact that Jesus was divine, He shows Himself to be a normal teenager when He fails to tell Joseph and Mary where He will be for a couple of days. Even more surprising, He doesn't bother asking their permission.

Like many a young boy of that age, His thoughtlessness causes hours of pain to His parents. When they finally catch up with Him, and gently scold Him, Jesus calmly replies, "Did you not know that I had to be in my Father's house?"

As Zechariah had prophesied, at that moment a sword of sorrow pierced Mary's heart as she realized what lay ahead. Even here, we notice that the essential bonds of love and obedience were quickly reestablished. The Gospel tells us simply that "He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. . . ."

In the first reading, we hear about a joyful birth - that of Samuel. After years of prayer, Hannah and Elkanah are granted a son. Her hymn of praise is very much like Mary's ("My soul doth magnify the Lord"). As soon as Samuel is weaned, the mother fulfills her promise and gives him up to the Lord's service at the shrine at Shiloh.

The lesson for families is clear: trusting in the Lord bears fruit. Children are gifts from God, and they always belong to God. Parents do not own their children. They are guardians who are responsible before God for their education and upbringing.

The second reading gives a great recipe for successful family relationships. What makes a family "holy"? It's all so simple! Just love one another and keep the commandments!

Of course, simple answers like that are the hardest to accept! Our families would find their disagreements, stressful relationships, and resentments that spoil the joy of family harmony so much easier to solve by imitating the faith and loving trust of the Holy Family.

Today's Scripture lessons for family life are made even more important in the light of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). In it, he teaches that many of our economic, social, and political problems are a result of the absence of strong family life.

Virtues such as honesty, generosity, and loyalty are first learned and practiced in families that are obedient to the Creator's commandments. The habits thus engrained in individuals flow naturally into the public life of society.

Pope Benedict calls the family "the primary vital cell of society." We cannot, then, separate the private world of family life from the success or failures of the public life of money and power, the economy, business practices, politics, and the way that nations treat world poverty, joblessness, the environment and immigration.

Your family would benefit immensely from a group reading today of the alternate readings for this Sunday Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 and Colossians 3:12-17. Then, take the time to discuss them together. It could change your family life forever!

~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore
| email: pwhitmore29@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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