Feast of the Holy Family

Feast of the Holy Family

The finding in the temple.

Family life is complicated. The feast of Jesus’ family reminds us of that truth. Today we find anxious parents searching for a lost child, and a young person who didn’t realise that he’d caused his parents so much grief. It may seem odd to think of Jesus being twelve years old when we only celebrated his birthday the other day, but growing up is part of the story of Christ, and of us all.

As you begin these reflections each day spend a few moments repeating the phrase “Speak Lord, your servant it listening.” Then read the short passage from Sunday’s readings until you have memorised it. Read the questions and give yourself time to deeply consider your response. Once you have reflected for a few minutes, speak to the Lord, as you would to a friend, about what you have reflected upon.


Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. (Luke 2:41-43)

  • What are your family traditions?
  • What is the significance of the age of Jesus?
  • Have you ever had a family crisis? What caused it?
  • Listen to the Lord who speaks to your heart about your family.


When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere. Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. (Luke 2:45-47)

  • Have you ever lost some one you love? How did it feel?
  • Can you feel Mary and Joseph’s panic?
  • What does the intelligence of Jesus say to you?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about your emotions.


They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant. (Luke 2:48-50)

  • What has caused you to be overcome with emotion?
  • When have you felt that you don’t understand your children?
  • What do you imagine Jesus was thinking in all this?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about what you worry about.



Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us. (1 John 3:1)

  • Remember times when you were lavishly loved.
  • Who have you lavished your love upon?
  • Remember times when God has loved you lavishly.
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about you being a child of God.



His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he told us to. Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him. We know that he lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us. (1 John 3:23-24)

  • Examine your conscience in the light of these commandments.
  • When have you known that God lives in you?
  • When have you known that you live in God?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about the gift of the Spirit.



How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of Hosts. My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my soul ring out their joy to God, the living God. (Psalm 83:2-3)

  • How do you imagine the dwelling place of God?
  • What do you long for and yearn for in your life?
  • Take moment to ring out your joy to God.
  • What is the Lord trying to tell you today about longing?



‘If you please, my Lord. As you live, my Lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. This is the child I prayed for, and the Lord granted me what I asked him. Now I make him over to the Lord for the whole of his life. He is made over to the Lord. There she left him, for the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:26-28)

  • When has the Lord granted what you prayed for?
  • What are you praying for most intently now?
  • Who can you make over to the Lord, entrusting them to his care and love?
  • Let the Lord speak to your heart about the answers to your prayers.

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