29 Dec 2012

30th December 2012 - The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

As we come to close of another year, this week's programme naturally turns to reflecting on the year past and looking forward to the year to come. This week's programme is available on podcast HERE

At the start of each programme we have a little prayer space - a time to reconnect with God - a time to bring our needs, cares, worries, joys, dreams and aspirations to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of 2012, we composed a number of prayer intentions for the year that we invited our listeners to carry these intentions in their prayers to God.  This year, again, we invite our listeners to become part of our Sacred Space 102fm prayer group. 
On the programme we introduced our suggested prayer intentions and heavenly intercessors for 2013:
  • Year of Faith - 12 Apostles and Doctors of the Church (e.g. St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Catherine of Sienna)
  • Protection of the unborn - St. Joseph, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Gianna Beretta Molla
  • Marriage and family life - The Holy Family
  • Peace - St. Zachary, Our Lady Queen of Peace, St. Francis of Assisi and the Child of Prague
  • Persecuted Christians - St. Stephen, Martyrs of Uganda, Martyrs of Vietnam and St. Michael the Archangel
  • Government and civil leaders - St. Thomas Moore and St. Jude
  • Cancer patients - St. Peregrine
  • The sick - Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Camillus
  • Diocese of Limerick and the selection of our new bishop - St. Munchin and St. Ita
  • The unemployed and those seeking work - St. Joseph the Worker
  • Emigrants - St. Patrick
  • Vocations - St. Alphonsus Ligouri
  • Priests - St. John Vianney
  • Pope Benedict XVI - St. Peter, St. Benedict and St. Joseph
  • The Church - St. Michael the Archangel
  • Youth - St. John Bosco, St. Francesco and St. Jacinta (Seers of Fatima) and Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati

In the second part of our programme we recapped some of the events which took place in the universal Church during 2012 including:

  • The 50th International Eucharistic Congress (June 10th to 17th 2012)
  • The Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith"
  • The Year of Faith (October 11th 2012 to November 24th 2013)
  • The 50th Anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council (October 11th 2012)
  • Pope Benedict XVI's first papal tweets (December 12th 2012)
  • Two Consistories (February 18th 2012 and November 24th 2012)
  • Vatileaks
  • Papal trips - Mexico and Republic of Cuba (March 23rd to 29th 2012) and Lebanon (September 14th to 16th 2012)
  • The Infancy Narratives - Jesus of Nazareth - Pope Benedict publishes the final installment of the trilogy on the life of Christ
  • Bethlehem made a UNESCO world heritage site (June 29th 2012)
  • Continuing exodus of Christians from the Middle East
  • The persecution of the bishops and Christians in China
  • Expansion of the Anglican Ordinature
What were your Church higlights or lowlights of 2012?

Gospel - Luke 2:41-52 - The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year C)

The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the last verses of St. Luke's infancy narratives.  In this reading we reflect upon the incident behind the fifth joyful mystery - the finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, but for Mary and Joseph we can imagine that the three days Jesus was lost was a time fraught with anxiety and guilt.  Each thinking that Jesus was in the company of the other, Mary and Joseph travelled a day's journey before they noticed that Jesus was missing.  When they found Jesus, He was in the Temple among the doctors listening to them and asking them questions (cf. Vs. 46).  What feelings may they have experienced?  If you are a parent, imagine the panic that goes through your mind when you think your child is missing - perhaps you just turned around for a minute in a shop and they have disappeared down another aisle... Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Mary and Joseph to find him there?  Relief? Certainly! Joy to find their son safe? Yes... but other feelings too - confusion, misunderstanding, hurt...
Mary's question to Jesus is poignant - "My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you." (Lk 2:49).  It is a question that encapsulates the myriad of emotions that Joseph and Mary felt.  Jesus' answer seems almost flippant at first - "Why were you looking for me?" he replied.  "Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father's affairs" (Lk 2:50).  It appears as if Jesus is dismissing Mary and Joseph's concern and worry, yet, if we reflect on this for a moment - to be busy with His Father's affairs is the reason why the Son of God became man.  The Father's will comes before all personal ties for Jesus.  This is in no way dismissive of the role of Mary as His Mother and Joseph as His step-father, indeed, we read in Vs. 51 that "He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority".  God the Father's will comes first.
We are told that Mary "stored up all these things in her heart" (Lk 2:51).  Even though she did not understand God's will, she stored it in her heart, returning to it, thinking over it, ruminating on it, praying about it.  She is the model for us when we find ourselves not understanding God's will.
Two little thoughts for further reflection:
1) Have we left Jesus in the Temple?  Do we leave Jesus in church after Sunday Mass?  Are we quite happy to meet with Jesus for 40 minutes each week, but that is the extent of our relationship?  As Christians, we are called to be Christ-bearers - do we bring Him into every situation and to every person we meet?
2) If you are a parent or grandparent, do your children or grandchildren sometimes do things that baffle you or worry you?  Perhaps when you approached them about it, you did not understand what they meant (cf. Vs. 50)?  Can you put yourself in their position and pray to the Holy Family to help you see God's will in this situation? 
Other reflections on this week's Gospel: -
Homily of Deacon Marton Brown OSB (Glenstal)
Liturgical Odds and Ends:
Divine Office - Week 1
Saints of the Week:
December 31st - St. Sylvester, pope
January 1st - Mary, the Holy Mother of God (also World Day of Peace)
January 2nd - St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church
January 3rd - St. Munchin (patron of the Diocese of Limerick) and The Holy Name of Jesus

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