Newsletter —Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph31st December 2023
Our First Reading today is from Ecclesiasticus 3:2-7,12-14: He who fears the Lord respects his parents. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 105: A prayer of thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness to his covenant. Today’s Second Reading is taken form Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19: Paul examines Abraham’s example of faith.
The Gospel Reading this Sunday is from Luke 2:22-40: Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses.
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family and the Gospel describes the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple and shows Joseph and Mary as devout Jews, following the prescriptions of the Law of Moses. Today’s Gospel notes that Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, in accordance with the Mosaic Law. At that time, he was called Jesus, the name he was given by the angel Gabriel. On the 40th day after Jesus’ birth, Mary performed the appropriate purification rites and made her offering at the Temple. Although the Law of Moses required an offering of a lamb, those who could not afford a lamb could substitute two turtledoves or two pigeons. In this scene, Luke identifies Joseph and Mary as being poor, and indeed throughout Luke’s Gospel, Jesus will show special concern for the poor.
In Jerusalem, Luke reports that Mary and Joseph encounter two devout Jews, Simeon and Anna, who recognize the infant Jesus as the fulfilment of Israel’s hope for redemption. In Simeon’s words we find a prediction of Mary’s witnessing of Jesus’ death on the cross. The Canticle of Simeon, also called by its Latin name, Nunc Dimitis, is prayed at night prayer, or compline, during the Liturgy of the Hours.