Readings and Reflection for Sunday December 26, Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph


“Samuel, as long as he lives, is lent to the Lord. ”
A reading from the first Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20-22.24-28)

And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.” And the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and abide there for ever.” And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine; and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slew the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me my petition which I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 84:2-3.5-6.9-10.11 (R. 5a)
R/. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh cry out
to the living God. R/.

Blessed are they who dwell in your house,
forever singing your praise.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in you,
whose heart is set on pilgrim ways. R/.

R/. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob.
Turn your eyes, O God, our shield;
look on the face of your anointed. R/.

One day within your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere.
The threshold of the house of God
I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked. R/.

“We are called children of God, and so we are. ”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint John (1 John 3: 1-2.21-24)

Beloved: See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA Cf Acts 16:14b
Alleluia. Open our hearts, O Lord, that we may give heed to the words of your Son. Alleluia.

“They found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 2:41-52)

The parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today we celebrate the most perfect human family that ever existed: the Holy Family of Nazareth. That family is called “holy” because of its closeness to God, who is holiness itself, and it includes Jesus the Son of God, the word who lived in the family of the father and the Holy Spirit for all eternity. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is the model for all families because they put God first in everything and God was present with them. The church teaches us that marriage and the family are of divine institution and not the result of blind evolution. Its purpose is for procreation and companionship. Needless to say, the family is the basic building block of civil society and also of church life. Today, due to infidelity, alcohol, drugs and divorce, many families are dysfunctional. The church urges us today to love the Holy Family and to imitate Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The key to that imitation is to put God first in our life.


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