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December 31, 2023 – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

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Our Great Journey

This week our theme is “We are Family”/ “Nosotros somos familia”  based on Luke 2:22-40 / Luca 2:22-40



Opening Prayer: 

All pray the Sign of the Cross

Lord, our God, in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, you have become one of us. During this Christmas season, help us to recognize your presence in the Holy Child in the manger, in the sacraments of the Church, and in the people around; in family, friends and strangers, knowing that Christ was born for all and that we are all children of God. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for December is The Apostles’ Creed.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. (The Apostles’ Creed is a profession of faith that preceded the Nicene Creed at the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Apostles’ Creed is usually prayed when we begin the Rosary)

Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel for December 31 aloud.

Things to talk about:

  • What do you think Jesus was like as a baby?
  • What is one thing your family can do to be more like the Holy Family? 
  • What do you love most about your family?
  • What are the most important things you have learned from your father or mother?

Things to do:

  • Select a night to have dinner together as a family and share favorite memories of yours and your children’s early life. Share stories about your children’s’ births and baptisms. Who are their godparents and why did you honor those you asked to be godparents. In this new year approaching, make a family promise to spend time together, pray together and affirm each other.
  • If you read this digital post, please type We are Family in the comments below. Thanks.

Closing Prayer

Prayer for our Family – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Heavenly Father, You have given us the model of life in the Holy Family of Nazareth. Help us, O Loving Father, to make our family another Nazareth where love, peace, and joy reign. May it be deeply contemplative, intensely Eucharistic, revived with joy.

Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow in family prayer. Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our families, especially in their distressing disguise. May the Eucharistic heart of Jesus make our hearts humble like his and help us to carry out our family duties in a holy way. May we love one another as God loves each one of us, more and more each day, and forgive each other’s faults as you forgive our sins. Help us, O Loving Father, to take whatever you give and give whatever you take with a big smile.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Holy Guardian Angels, be always with us, guide and protect us. Amen

Catholic Insights

No details are given in any of the Gospels as to what the life of the child Jesus was like. Only Luke includes a story of Jesus – the Finding in the Temple. Mostly we are left to wonder and imagine. What was life like in that particular home in Nazareth?

From this Gospel we have a sense of how religious and devout the Holy Family was. According to Jewish religious law, a woman who had given birth was required to undergo certain purification rituals before she could reenter the worshipping community. If she had given birth to a son, she and her husband were required to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God at the Temple in Jerusalem.

While the Holy Family may have lived a very ordinary life, the love among Jesus and Mary and Joseph was truly extraordinary. Jesus was God incarnate, but he learned to love within a human family who loved him deeply.

Imagine the Holy Family sitting together at dinner, what do you think their conversations might have been like? Think of Jesus learning a trade from Joseph or laughing with delight at a story Mary told him. Reflect for a moment on the simple joys of family life.

We pray this year, to appreciate and make the time to be like the Holy Family and experience the simple joys, which are the most important.

Did you know? … that this Gospel tells about the first time Jesus appears in the Temple in Jerusalem? Luke uses these visits to show Christianity’s continuity with the Jewish traditions.

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