Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

The Holy Family As A Model: Sunday Breakfast With the Word



Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14, Colossians 3:12-21, Luke 2:22-40




The Holy Family is the family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. In today’s celebration, the Church presents the family as a role model for every Christian family. The Holy Family possesses all the attributes that every single family on earth needs.

A role model is someone who we can look upon to model the way we live. They serve as inspiring examples of the way we shape our thoughts, behaviour and life. On this, the Holy Family serves as a perfect example for every member of the family. Therefore in today’s liturgy, the readings revolve on how every family can grow in love, peace and unity. Let us look at some features of this family that will certainly influence the way we live our lives.


God is at the Center


One special characteristic of this family is that God is always at the centre of everything they do. In fact, this family do not joke whenever it comes to the things of God. When you look at the Holy family we would see how they take God seriously. The gospel says that when the time for the purification came, they did not waste time to go to Jerusalem for the purification rites and dedication of the child.

It is worthy to note that the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem takes about 60 miles (100 km). This is a very long journey that requires great sacrifice and involves a lot of spending. But none of these could stop them from making this journey.

Joseph and Mary consider it very important to present their child first to God. This shows how God is so important to them. This is unlike what many do today, who take their child or baby to many places to find out who reincarnated and not reincarnated, to find out the type of person he or she is? If the child becomes sick, they wander through many prayer houses to look for what might cause the sickness thereby exposing the child to many different kinds of spirits. But the Holy Family consider it very important to take their child first to God.

Once it involves God, this family is ready to do anything. They gave all for God. We can see a glimpse of this in Mary’s Magnificat. Instead of praising herself for being found worthy, She was praising God. This family teaches us to take God seriously.


Obedience to God and the State

According to the Jewish custom, two ceremonies precede the birth of a newborn child. The ceremonies include purification of the mother and consecration of the firstborn child to God. The law demands the consecration of every firstborn to God (Exodus 13:1-2) and after the birth of any child, the mother has to go through a ritual cleansing to purify herself (Leviticus 12).

After forty days the mother of a male child has to offer sacrifice as an act of cleansing (Leviticus 12:6-8). As the gospel states, the family keeps to this. Not just that, Luke 2, relates the birth of Jesus to their obedience to take part in the census decreed by Caesar Augustus. This family is a perfect example when it comes to obedience to God and the law. Once God speaks, they can never wander from right to left.


Perfect Exemplar of Holiness

The family of Joseph and Mary is like every other ordinary family. What makes the family so special is that Jesus is born into the family. Jesus is God. So for Jesus to be part of the family, in essence, means that God is now part and parcel of the Family.

When you look at the way the family goes, we would see perfect examples of people who totally dedicate themselves to God. They forgo their destiny to make sure they actualize the will of God. They keep God at the forefront of every decision they make. We can see an example of this, when the angel tells Joseph to take Mary as the wife, despite that she is pregnant. Not everyone today can take such kind of seeming illusory experience. But Joseph keeps faith. The family shows us that the way to be holy is to allow Jesus to take flesh into our families. His presence brings peace, love for God and total dedication to the will of God.        


Family of Love and togetherness

When we look at all the activities surrounding Jesus from the time of His birth, one will always conclude that this family is bound by love and togetherness. From the suffering in the flight to Egypt and searching for Jesus when He was lost in the temple, there was no single place recorded that either of the members of the family became angry.


They understand themselves and work together. In the early narratives surrounding the birth of Jesus, we can hardly find where Mary or Joseph was working alone. They are always together. This teaches every family the importance of the man and woman to come together and work for hand in glove. The family responsibilities are not for the man or the woman alone. They are for both parties.


Total Trust in God


In the midst of the joyous advent of the newborn child, Simeon makes a prophecy that truly touches the heart of Mary. All these times, many good things have been said about the child to be born, but by this time, a different revelation about the child comes through Simeon who says of Mary that a sword must pierce through her soul. Which hence reveals that the task she has chosen will not be an easy one.

Mary would have reacted. She would have blamed the Angel Gabriel for not telling her the bitter part of the course she has chosen. But yet she kept all these in her heart. She trusts whatever God is doing through her, whether it has to be joyful or sorrowful. In the life of Joseph, when Herod wanted to kill the Child, Joseph is always trusting wherever God tells Him to go.

Today many families have wandered away from God because of what they are experiencing. Many who are in difficult situations have done a lot of sacrifices to see if they can see the light. While many today have lost faith in God. Let us always look upon this family whenever we are faced with many challenges. When problems happen, let us not lose faith in God but trust whatever He is doing in the family.           




1. For every family to progress they must first of all put God as the centre of their everyday life. Today, the normal practice of family prayers have gone. Parents and children prefer to watch movies and Tv shows first thing in the morning and last thing before they sleep.

Today, the time for God has gone into extinction and this is why many children nowadays grow without knowing anything when it comes to their relationship with God. Proverbs 22:6 says, train every child the way he should go so that even when he grows old, he will not depart from it.   Today, instead of growing children who have a human conscience, the number of criminals, murderers, kidnappers keep increasing. Which is as a result of the encounters they have while growing.


2. When God takes flesh in our families, there will be peace and family unity. Every family needs to come together and work as one. Joseph did not leave the family burden alone for Mary and Mary did not do the same. For a family to grow, they must come together in love. In the second reading, St Paul admonishes us to clothe ourselves in love, forgiveness, generosity, compassion, gentleness and patience.

Imagine a husband and wife that can do this.  Imagine a Family that helps each other, imagine a family that takes peace as their watchword and easily forgive one another. Such a family will be heaven on earth.


3. Every child in a family must take it as their first task to give honour to their parents. The second reading says that obedience to parents is what pleases the Lord. The first reading says that honour given to parents can expiate sin, amass a fortune, source of children, the secret of answered prayers, the secret of long life and reparation for sins.

In fact, whatever kindness we show to our parents can never be forgotten. In this particular commandment, there is a promise attached to it. ( Exodus 20:24). But today, because of our lack of knowledge of the scriptures, many neglect this. Many children today do not even care whether their parents exist or not. Whatever we do for them has a resultant effect.


4. The second reading states clear how the family should live. Every wife, who is married to a man should always know that what she owes to the man is nothing but love and respect. The bible does not tell you to insult and bash on your husband. God does not ask you to make Him subject to you because you are wealthy and well placed more than Him. For peace to reign in the family, wives should learn to be subject to their husbands.

Husbands on the other hand must treat his wife with nothing but love and not to be harsh on her.  All his actions towards her must reflect nothing but love. Love is not self-centred nor keeps a record of wrong things done to you ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Love is shown when we are interested in the affairs of the other person. The Holy family teaches us nothing but this.


5. Finally, let us always look upon the Holy Family as our role model if we are truly interested in bringing peace to the family. Everything we need in the family can be drawn from this Holy Family. They are love, togetherness, tolerance, understanding, peace, holiness, total dedication to God etc. Let us always be like the Holy family, emulate the Holy Family and work as the Holy Family, we would never regret it.

God bless you and Happy Sunday.


Do you want to stay inspired even in the midst of challenges? You may read Stay Inspired: A message for the Depressed


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