December 28, 2014: The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
Among the areas of the social commitment of the laity, service to the human person emerges as a priority. Promoting the dignity of every person, the most precious possession of men and women, is the “essential task, in a certain sense, the central and unifying task of the service which the Church, and the lay faithful in her, are called to render to the human family”.
The first form in which this task is undertaken consists in the commitment and efforts to renew oneself interiorly, because human history is not governed by an impersonal determinism but by a plurality of subjects whose free acts shape the social order. Social institutions do not of themselves guarantee, as if automatically, the common good; the internal “renewal of the Christian spirit” must precede the commitment to improve society “according to the mind of the Church on the firmly established basis of social justice and social charity”.
It is from the conversion of hearts that there arises concern for others, loved as brothers or sisters. This concern helps us to understand the obligation and commitment to heal institutions, structures and conditions of life that are contrary to human dignity. The laity must therefore work at the same time for the conversion of hearts and the improvement of structures, taking historical situations into account and using legitimate means so that the dignity of every man and woman will be truly respected and promoted within institutions. (552) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalm: 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-21
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
Catechism of the Catholic Church
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Feast of the Holy Family, Cycle B
“The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church.”9 It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament. (2204)
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
It is in the family that one learns the love and faithfulness of the Lord, and the need to respond to these (cf. Ex 12:25-27, 13:8,14-15; Deut 6:20-25, 13:7-11; 1 Sam 3:13). It is in the family that children learn their first and most important lessons of practical wisdom, to which the virtues are connected (cf. Prov 1:8-9, 4:1-4, 6:20-21; Sir 3:1-16, 7:27-28). Because of all this, the Lord himself is the guarantor of the love and fidelity of married life (cf. Mal2:14-15).
Jesus was born and lived in a concrete family, accepting all its characteristic features and he conferred the highest dignity on the institution of marriage, making it a sacrament of the new covenant (cf. Mt 19:3-9). It is in this new perspective that the couple finds the fullness of its dignity and the family its solid foundation. (210)
The immediate purpose of the Church’s social doctrine is to propose the principles and values that can sustain a society worthy of the human person. Among these principles, solidarity includes all the others in a certain way. It represents “one of the fundamental principles of the Christian view of social and political organization”.
Light is shed on this principle by the primacy of love, “the distinguishing mark of Christ’s disciples (cf. Jn 13:35)”. Jesus teaches us that “the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love” (cf. Mt 22:40, Jn 15:12; Col 3:14; Jas 2:8). Personal behaviour is fully human when it is born of love, manifests love and is ordered to love. This truth also applies in the social sphere; Christians must be deeply convinced witnesses of this, and they are to show by their lives how love is the only force (cf. 1 Cor 12:31-14:1) that can lead to personal and social perfection, allowing society to make progress towards the good. (580)
Love is the overriding bond in offering heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. Love manifests as a bond of perfection, for in offering love genuine empathetic concern is an authentic response. Phony attitudes vaporize when love percolates into the fabric of life. Love is being present in the absence of hope. Consumed by the fruit of one’s handiwork, imparting love offers a palate of sweetness to flavor life with an effervescence of joy. But how many people choose to live in the mundane? Where life is drudgery, other people are viewed as a hassle, shut off with avoidance or ridiculed into punity? A conscience action refusing to live in love, a refusing of the Divine way of living as sisters and brothers. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, hopefully awaited the consolation of his people. Seeing the Lord, he understood the light was not just for the limited context of his people, but imparted for all people. A manifestation of God’s unfolding love for humanity. How do we view that light? The flame of a single match that will shortly fizzle or a lighthouse beacon seen for miles to steady the course? Do we keep the light just for ourselves and those that live under our roof or our flag or do we share it with all we meet and view it as a grace for all humanity to view family as God views family? Our lives must be like Anna, to love as God loves. While we might not stay in a physical temple to worship, our being is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do we live to reflect that reality? Lives of peace, service, vitreous, and forgiving to affirm God’s goodness in our creation in a spirit of thankfulness. To do everything in the name of the Lord, without bitterness and not for our own sanctification. A faith not lived selfishly just within the boundaries of our biological family, but encompassing God’s human family. A witness of the impartiality of God’s love.
Individual Reflection Colossians 3:12-21
View the resources on the USCCB website for National Migration Week January 4-10, 2015 and encourage your parish to utilize them in liturgy and educational outreach about human trafficking, migrants and refugees:
Family Reflection Psalm 128: 1-2, 3, 4-5
Learn about the Equitable Food Initiative and share the information with your parish to encourage support of socially responsible consumer practices:
God, we thank you for the gift of your Son. A light for all people and for our salvation. Help us to love the human family, as you love. So we do not exclude, demean or exploit, give us the grace to live with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. As Simeon blessed the Holy Family, help our lives to bless the human family. As Anna gave thanks in the temple, help us to always live prayerfully in reverence for our being, a temple of the Holy Spirit. In gratitude for your love, we pray in the name of your Son, Amen.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born December 20, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.