Jesuit Father Antoine Gerhuel introduces us to the meditation with readings for Holy Family Sunday, Liturgical Year B.
Texts: Gn 15, 1-6; 21, 1-3; BS 104 (105), 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9; He 11, 8.11-12.17-19; LC 2, 22-40
The last day of 2023 coincides with the Feast of the Holy Family, and on this Sunday, liturgical texts turn us firmly to the future. The first two readings lead us into the presence of Abraham, the figure of this God-trusting man who promised him countless descendants and called him to leave his father's house to go to an unknown land. In the Gospel read today, the two elders (Simeon and Anne) tell us the amazing words about Jesus during the presentation of Jesus in the Temple: Jesus – whose name is “God saves» – will lead the people not to a new land, but to a new life… and he will do so by embarking on an amazing path of passion and revival. The texts of the feast we celebrate make it clear that the Holy Family is at the service of the new future that God is opening for the people of Israel and for all humanity.
Faith is the heart of Abraham's journey. Abraham welcomes the word that tears him from the daily life he led in the land of the Chaldeans; Then he heads for a new land. Abraham also welcomes the word that declares him, that he and his wife are old, and descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand of the beach, all the hope that dwells in Abraham is turned to the future, not pre-possessed, dark or bright, but manifested in his familiarity with God throughout the days. Abraham's faith was not about an inheritance, but about a promise. The author of the letter to the Hebrews, an extract read this Sunday, marvels at this faith that allowed Abraham to pass through many trials. Abraham feels it, feels it, knows it: God is faithful to His promise. This determination guides his life.
The miracle is at the heart of the words spoken by the elders Simeon and Anne in the extract from Luke's Gospel heard this Sunday. Before seeing Israel's awaited Messiah, Simeon had the assurance that he would not see death. Finding the Holy Family in the temple to show Jesus, he recognized the expected Messiah by seeing the baby Jesus and began a song of joy. Simeon did not announce a Messiah covered with glory according to the world, but a Messiah whose journey would go through trials; In our particular understanding of the Passion, Simeon tells Mary “Your soul will be pierced by a sword“. Anne, for her part, continues to proclaim the praises of God and speaks about this child to those waiting for the Messiah. Mary and Joseph remember the strong words they heard in the church on the day of this presentation of Jesus. We can imagine that these words would have guided their way through Jesus' childhood.
The Feast of the Holy Family is therefore an opportunity to reflect on the faith to which our families are called. It is a faith nurtured by God's faithfulness, a faith turned to the future that God gives us, a faith that lives by a promise: in Jesus, God will lead us to life.
May our families shine this hope through the difficulties they face in their daily lives. May each member of our family – whatever their age – flourish in the discovery of the love that God leads each person to life. Let our families grow into true domestic churches, focused on welcoming the promise that, in Jesus, God addresses each person.
Happy New Year 2024 everyone!
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