Weekly Missionary Reflection
Sunday, 27 December 2020
FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY (Jesus, Mary, Joseph)
Gen. 15:1-6; 21:1-3; Ps. 105:1b-2,3-4,5-6,8-9; Heb. 11:8,11-12,17-19; Luke 2:22-40 (long) atau Luke 2:22,39-40 (short)
After Christmas we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. This sequence is not incidental. The Church wants to emphasize the importance of a family for children development. Even the Son of God needs a good family environment. He is not only born as a human, but also as a human who is raised in a family. However, this family from Nazareth is not an ordinary family. The mother is a virgin with the status of a mother. Joseph, the father, is like a mute. Not even once does he open his mouth. Of course he is not mute, instead he is only being obedient to carry out the Father’s plan. The Son is the center of the family.His birth attracts the attention of, not only the shepherds, but also the angels. So, this “Holy Family” is unique, because of the presence of the Baby!
First, His presence drives Joseph and Mary to be obedient to the Law. They become a good and pious Jewish parent. After giving birth to a baby boy, the mother is unclean for 7 days. After that, she still has to stay in the house for 33 days, before having the ceremony of purification (Lev. 12: 2-6). Mary and Joseph is obeying this purity rule.
Second, the baby Jesus must also be circumcised. Circumcision makes the Baby a legal member of God’s People. In addition, He is also offered to God, as the firstborn son. This act does not only show the obedience of His parents (Exo. 13), but also their faith in God as the Owner and Giver of all. Like Samuel in the Old Testament (1Sam. 1: 24-28), Jesus is also presented by His parents to God. His life is completely devoted to serving God. In other word: He is “sanctified to God” (v.23). This is in accordance with the angel’s message to Mary that “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke. 1:35).
Third, the offering of the firstborn is usually “redeemed” (replaced) by paying 5 shekels/silver coins (Num. 3:47). Jesus’ parents apparently do not fulfill this requirement. Luke’s focus is more on the sanctification/offering of Jesus to God. Above that: Jesus does not need to be redeemed, for He will redeem His people from their sins.
Fourth, this Holy Family is welcomed by an elderly couple: Simeon and Hannah. Both of them become the herald for the Baby’s identity. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Prophets’ promises. In Him, the hope of all God’s people for salvation is fulfilled. These elders teach you and me about the right attitude to welcome the Baby: Asking the help from Holy Spirit to persistently be longing for Him, and be guided to meet and welcome Him.
Fifth, Simeon and Hannah also proclaim Jesus’ identity as the true Messiah. He is not a warrior Messiah who defeats the opponents for the sake of winning His group. He is the Savior of all mankind (vv. 31-32). However, He is also a Savior who will remain as a touchstone and stumbling block. He will continuously become the cause of debate and contradiction. Only through that way will He raise us to a glorious life with Him.
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
The life of prayer: May our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be enriched by the word of God and life of prayer. We pray …
For Indonesian Churches intention:
Be cautious of consumerism: May Catholic families be encouraged to limiting their consumption to the needed things indeed in order to be willing to share part of their properties to those who are more in need. We pray …
We join ourselves with the Holy Family of Nazareth to achieve the justice with The Friend, Jesus Christ, our Lord. We pray