Holy Family – December 27, 2020

FamB20.    Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3.    God has made Abram rich but given him no children and his wife was too old to bear a child.  Abram’s hopelessness to have a family offered the opportunity to God to show his gloriously mighty caring power.  God promised Abram that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Then Sarah bore Abram a son in her old age.  When God made his promise to Abram, Abram simply accepted God at his word.  Our reading says, “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him (Abram) as an act of righteousness (holiness).”

Luke 22:22-40.   Matthew 1:24b says, “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.”  Although Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, once Joseph took his wife Mary into his home, Joseph legally became Jesus’ father.  Joseph and Mary, who are referred to in this Sunday’s reading as “the child’s father and mother,” brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord.  Four times it is mentioned that they were doing everything as good Jews in compliance with the Jewish Law.  The sacrifice they offered in the Temple was the sacrifice mandated for the poorest of families. (Leviticus 12:8 & Exodus 13:2 & 12)  Simeon spoke prophetically that Jesus was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  Also traditionally it has been understood that the sword that would pierce Mary’s heart was Jesus’ crucifixion. Likewise Anna spoke prophetically that Jesus was the one for whom “all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”  In Jesus, divinity took on humanity.  Jesus was truly a human being without losing his divinity; however, his divinity had to stand back so as to allow Jesus’ humanity to develop as a true human being.  As Abram entrusted himself to God’s promise, so Mary put her faith in the word of God spoken through the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of Jesus, the “Son of the Most High.”

Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19. This reading begins: “Brothers and sisters: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go.  By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age—and Sarah herself was sterile—for he thought the one who made the promise was trustworthy.”  This Sunday is dedicated to the Holy Family.  They are the Holy family because their lives individually and their life as a family unit were lived in their faith in God, entrusting themselves to the God who is trustworthy.  They invite us to do the same.