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Reflections 29th December 2019

A Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family

Mt. 2: 13-15, 19-23 ( http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122919.cfm )  

Recently Pope Francis quoted the well-known African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child.  He then asks the question, ‘but where do we find the village today?’ The answer to this question will depend on many people but we can be sure that families are building-blocks in any village.

The readings today in simple terms offer us a vision of family and community.  In these sacred stories we distil an understanding of family.  The Scripture today defines family not in terms of literal definition but in terms of a vision for family where loving and heartfelt relationships are central to the experience. 

At the centre of the family experience is heart and love, and it is through this experience that our loving God, Abba, speaks to us. When we pray from the‘depths of our heart’, we are closest to God.  It is here at the deepest experience of love that we will hear God’s love for us and our families.

  • ...But in the depths of my heart I truly know that you, Yahweh, have become my shield; you take me and surround me with yourself (Psalm 3:3)
  • … Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! (Psalm 130:1)

The experience of being family can be vulnerable. Within families there can be moments of joy and sadness, worry and hope. At this time of the year, families experience the full range of these emotions.  

However, today’s feast celebrates the fact that Jesus was raised within the family experience. It was through family that Jesus grew as true man and true God. It is through family that we too can experience human and divine love.  Today, as a Church family, let us face towards God and pray that we may experience God’s love within our personal and family life.


Ronan Barry – Ronan works as the Spiritan Identity, Faith & Mission Officer in the Spiritan Education Trust. His areas of involvement include engagement with boards of management, senior school management teams and lead teachers in ethos-development, global citizenship education, pastoral care, religious education and sacramental preparation.