Feast of the Holy Family
by Christina Weigand
The Feast of the Holy Family was developed in the 19th century in Canada and spread to the entire church in 1920. It was originally celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany. It was later moved to be celebrated on the Sunday between December 25 and January 1. Because there is no Sunday between those dates this year, 2022, the feast day will be celebrated on Friday December 30.
The church celebrates the Holy Family as the “True Model of Life.” Families can draw inspiration from the Holy Family as well as having a resource for help and comfort.
The gospel readings in 2022 will be from Matthew 2: 13-15, 19-23. In these readings we see a lot of motion verbs such as: depart, arise, flee, take refuge, and stay. The verses trace the journey of the persecuted and refugees through the journey of the Holy Family and can be applied to all persecuted and refugees throughout history.
In Hosea 11:1 we hear “Out of Egypt I called him.” It refers to God calling His people out of slavery. It also points to God calling His Son out of Egypt and freeing us all from the slavery of sin with that calling.
Additionally, the passage recalls and points to how the merciful hand of God liberates His people, and the Holy Spirit continues to guide us.
So as you celebrate the Holy Family and their journey into and back out of Egypt this year consider the reason for that journey and how Jesus came to free all of us from the slavery of sin and say this prayer:.
The hidden life of Nazareth
allows every person
to be in communion with Jesus
along the most ordinary paths of everyday life.
Nazareth is the school
in which we begin to understand
the life of Jesus, that is,
the school of the Gospel…
In the first place, may it teach us silence.
Oh! May an appreciation
of this stupendous and indispensable
atmosphere for the spirit return to us…
May it teach us the way to live in the family.
Nazareth reminds us what the family is,
what communion of love is,
its austere and simple beauty,
its sacred and inviolable character…
Finally, let us learn a lesson of work.
Oh! House of Nazareth,
home of the “Carpenter’s Son”!
Here, we especially want to understand
how to praise the severe but redeeming law
of human labor…
We want to greet workers throughout the world
and show them their great model,
their Divine Brother.
(Saint Pope Paul VI, discourse of 5 January 1964)