The Feast of the Holy Family
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - December 28, 2014 - 12:00am

Today is the first Sunday after Christmas Day, or the Octave of Christmas, and it is also the Feast of the Holy Family and today’s gospel reading is about the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. You can read it in your Bibles in Luke 2:22,39, 40.

“22 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, (Joseph and Mary] took [Jesus} up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 39 When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.”


No doubt, today’s gospel reading has been shortened. But if you’re wondering what prescriptions did Joseph and Mary fulfill? You can read the continuation in today’s gospel in Luke 2: 23-24, which goes, “23 Just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord” 24 and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.” We Catholics believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary was ever a virgin, before, during and after the birth of our Lord. So in short, she really didn’t need to follow the Law of the Lord. So why did she submit to this law?

In the book, “The Life of Mary: as Seen by the Mystics” by Raphael Brown, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared before St. Bridget of Sweden and from her own words told her, “And when I gave birth to Him, I brought him forth without pain, just as I had also conceived Him with such great joy of soul and body that in my rapture my feet did not feel the ground on which they were standing. And as He had filled my soul with happiness on entering my body, so did He come forth in such a way that my whole body and soul exulted with indescribable joy and in such a way that my virginity was not impaired.”

Again what we quoted here is an account of the personal revelation by the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bridget of Sweden. It may not be scriptural, but like all the appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Lourdes or the most famous one… when she appeared before Juan Diego in Guadalupe, these apparitions were approved by the Catholic Church and therefore the Catholic faithful believe that they really happened.

If you recall in Genesis 3:16 God said to Adam and Eve when they fell from grace, “To the woman he said; I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children.” This meant that if Adam and Eve did not fall… Eve wouldn’t have experienced no pain when she gave birth to her son. So pain was in punishment for her disobedience to God.

So if the virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was intact when our Lord Jesus Christ was born, she really did not need any purification. But God so favored the Blessed Virgin Mary for her humility, which is why she submitted to the purification in the Temple. It was also a fitting way for St. Joseph to be publicly accepted as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because it was the first time that the Holy Family entered the Temple of God.

While today is the Feast of the Holy Family, however very few scriptural passages can be found about the life of the Holy Family as it belongs to the Hidden Life of Jesus. Actually, devotion to the Holy Family grew in popularity in the 17th century, and several religious congregations have been founded under this title.

So why did the Holy Trinity allow the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity to be born to a sinless woman? It would have been easier for our Lord Jesus Christ to appear suddenly in the Judean desert and begin his Galilean ministry. But then questions would arise as to where he came from and what nationality he belonged? Clearly, God’s plan was for our Lord Jesus Christ to be born into a family, as all this is part of God’s salvific plan to restore humankind from the fall of Adam and Eve.

In disobeying God, Adam and Eve fell from paradise when Eve said “No” to God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit. But during the annunciation, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s “Yes” to the message of the Angel Gabriel began man’s restoration to God’s original plan for man to regain our paradise lost. Alas, today the Holy Family is in danger because of artificial contraception, same sex marriages, abortion and divorce, which undoubtedly is displeasing to the eyes of God.

There is no doubt in my mind that Satan’s evil smoke has entered the hearts of those who believed in the Reproductive Health Law, which allows artificial birth control to be given to families in this country because doing so is against God’s will for man and woman to procreate. The main purpose of the Feast is to present the Holy Family as the model for all Christian families, and thus we are sanctified when we live the life of the “Domestic Church.”

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