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Julio Suescun, CM, director of the Spanish famvin site, offers reflections on the feast of the Holy Family.

LECTIO DIVINA — THE HOLY FAMILY

Jesus was educated, grew up and matured in the shelter of a human family, but this did not limit his affective bonds.  Indeed, his mission was determined solely by a desire to fulfill the Father’s will.  In this way a universal family was inaugurated, a family not founded on bonds of flesh and blood but rather on bonds of faith.

LECTIO DIVINA — THE HOLY FAMILY

Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?

Readings:

Ecclesiastes 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; Luke 2:41-52

Setting:

Jesus was educated, grew up and matured in the shelter of a human family, but this did not limit his affective bonds.  Indeed, his mission was determined solely by a desire to fulfill the Father’s will.  In this way a universal family was inaugurated, a family not founded on bonds of flesh and blood but rather on bonds of faith.

Opening Prayer:

Child, Jesus, you had the privilege of having a mother, Mary and a father, Joseph who cared for you and protected you.  As we celebrate this feast of the Holy Family we ask you in a special way to intercede for each one of us, for all those who are near us and for those with whom we share our family life.  Pour forth your blessings upon us so that we might have the same sentiments that were present in your home at Nazareth.  May peace, joy, understanding, goodness, forgiveness and mutual support reign in our midst.  May we live together, supporting one another and giving ourselves to one another.  May we always seek that which is best for the other, having you before our eyes, you, our Lord and God in whom and from whom we hope for everything.  Amen

I. Reading:  What does the text tells us? (Luke 2:41-52)

Motivation: Luke places before us this event of the child Jesus, lost and found in the Temple, in order to remind us that Jesus is the Son of God at every moment, including when he was a child and under the authority of Mary and Joseph. Jesus is the Messiah Savior and he has come to save us through his death and resurrection.  Therefore, he obeys the Father.  Let us listen! (Proclaim the text in a loud voice with everyone standing.  Then seated each one can read in aloud the verse that which drew their attention).

Questions about the reading:

  • Where did this event take place?  What was Jesus’ age?  Why was he in Jerusalem?
  • What did Jesus do when he returned home after the celebration?  Where were his parents?
  • How did Joseph and Mary react when they found him in the Temple?  What did Mary say to Jesus?
  • How did Jesus respond to Mary’s words?  What is the meaning of these words?
  • What did Jesus’ words provoke in Joseph and Mary?

Other biblical texts to read:  Deuteronomy 16:16; John 7:15, 46; 1 Samuel 2:26.

II. Meditate:  What does the text say to me?  To us?

Motivation: The family in Nazareth was a place for growing and maturing.  First of all for Jesus this was a place where he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. Second, Joseph and Mary, who did not understand all of this, found themselves in a situation of searching which enabled them to grow in their own faith.  Today all of this presents our own families with a challenge.

  • What impression does the attitude and behavior of the adolescent Jesus in Jerusalem create in me?
  • Why were you searching for me?  Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? … What do these words of Jesus reveal?
  • How does the attitude of Joseph and Mary help us grow in our personal and family faith?
  • What conditions should be present in our family environment in order that we might grow as persons and believers?
  • What signs of hope can we see in the reality of family life today?

After a period of personal reflection the participants can share their thoughts concerning the meaning of the text for their personal reality or situation.

III. Prayer:  What can I say to the Lord as a result of his word?

Motivation: As the family of God, as a community of people who follow Jesus, let us now transform the fruit of our reflection into prayer.  Let us be especially mindful of our own family and all families throughout the world.

  • After a time of personal prayer, we can share aloud our prayer, always directing ourselves to God through praise, thanksgiving and confident supplication.
  • The responsorial psalm for this Sunday can also be recited.

IV. Contemplation:  What does the text lead me to do?

Motivation: Read with attention the following words of the Pope:  All of us need to return to Nazareth, to contemplate ever anew the silence and love of the Holy Family, the model of all Christian family life. Here, in the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, we come to appreciate even more fully the sacredness of the family, which in God’s plan is based on the lifelong fidelity of a man and a woman consecrated by the marriage covenant and accepting of God’s gift of new life. How much the men and women of our time need to reappropriate this fundamental truth, which stands at the foundation of society, and how important is the witness of married couples for the formation of sound consciences and the building of a civilization of love! (Homily, May 14, 2009, Mount of Precipice, Nazareth).

For Saint Vincent charity, i.e., love, is the essential element which animates the life of the whole community and cannot the same be said concerning the whole family: Charity is the soul of all virtues and the heaven of every community.  The house of San Lazare will be a heaven if there is charity because heaven is nothing more than love, charity.  The primary joy of eternal life consists of love … there is nothing more desirable than to live with those whom one loves and with those who feel loved.

Commitment:

  • In light of this passage what can I do to express my gratitude for the gift of having a family?
  • As a family what can we do so that each day we love one another more profoundly?  What can we do so that our love is deepened?

Final Prayer:

Our Father in heaven, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth is derived, we bless you today for the admirable example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.  In the context of family Christ, your Son, learned the meaning of obedience and work as Mary and Joseph toiled in their daily labor.  Allow us to imitate their domestic virtues and their unity in love.  May our families give witness to hope and solidarity.  Bless our homes and clothe us in the joy and hopes and anguish of the holy family.  Grant to all parents and children the sensitivity to appreciate these values and awaken, consolidate and nourish new generations with the strength to build a better future.  Amen


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