Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“The child grew and became strong."

This Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In the Sunday Gospel - and the Discussion Questions we've chosen - the story of the presentation of the child Jesus at the temple in accordance with Jewish tradition is described in detail.

You are receiving a condensed version of this weeks's reflections on the Sunday Readings because most of our ParishWorld staff are gone for the holidays. We will be back with our normal full issue after the holidays.

One of the figures in the Gospel was an old woman named Anna. Though she had witnessed thousands of children being brought to the temple, when she laid her teary eyes on the infant Jesus she knew at once who it was. Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains how he could suddenly see that Anna has laid down a condition for each of us who are within a family. Swords will pierce our souls. Maybe if we accept them, they will open our eyes as they did Anna’s. Maybe we will find the God-child in our arms.

We celebrate this Sunday not the feast of the Perfect Family but the fFeast of the Holy Family. Fr. Andrew Greeley explores the Gospel accounts of how ordinary and human the Holy Family seemed to be. Fr. James Gilhooley asks us to consider the consider the teen years of Jesus. Most teens believe they know everything. Can you even speculate how difficult it had to be to raise one who did? Do you still find it difficult to relate with such a family as Jesus, Mary and Joseph?

And Fr. Joseph Pellegrino reminds all you parents to be the best parents you can be. Remain grounded in the Lord. Make prayer a part of your home life. Pray with your children at bedtime and pray for them after they fall asleep. Teach your children respect. Let them witness your respect for them, for each other, and for others and demand that they respect others, including you. Do your best and trust God to do the rest.

Our Burning Question this week challenges you to read up on the first two chapters of Matthew and discuss the symbolism of the "Adventures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph." Reflect on how their lives relate to your own family life and share your thoughts with us.

Christmas is that time of year again when we spend time watching old Christmas movie classics. And there is no more beloved Christmastime flick than the manly classic, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It's full of life lessons specially for men. Check out the lessons in manliness that can be gleaned from this classic.

We hope you had a meaningful and blessed Christmas. Enjoy the rest of the holidays and may you have a most Happy and Holy New year.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: How does Matthew explain the infant Jesus is "Special?"
FEATURED BLOG: Lessons in Manliness from It’s a Wonderful Life
RECONCILIATION: A Baghdad Community Lives in Peace, for Now

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