“Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.”
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Colossians 3: 12-21
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
In the first reading for this Sunday celebrating the Holy Family, Sirach encourages us in ways that we can honor and demonstrate love for our family members. Do we find ways to honor our parents? As parents, do we have ways and means to live out a way of compassion and love for our children, and grandchildren. Especially in this time of our covid-19 pandemic, how do we “keep in touch” with our family members, when we are essentially on “lockdown” and increased isolation?
St. Paul encourages us to “put on,” actually, to live out in thoughts, words and hopefully, deeds, “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” This is an important reminder for us all during this time. Paul admonishes us to put on love and let the Peace of Christ control our hearts. We are reminded to let the Word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts. Do we find time and do we reserve a peaceful space in our lives to read and listen to the Word of God in Scripture and other spiritual reading?
In the Gospel, Luke fast-forwards us to the time when Mary and Joseph took the child, Jesus, up to Jerusalem. When they arrived at the temple, they encountered Simeon and Anna. Simeon prays aloud to God, “Now Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word…” Simeon sees God’s Salvation in this Child who will be a “light of revelation” for us all. However, this encounter does not end in delight and contentment. As Simeon blessed the Holy Family, he proclaimed that Jesus will be a sign of contradiction, and to Mary he proclaimed that, because the Child was destined for His final return to Jerusalem (and the Cross), “you yourself a sword will pierce.” For the Holy Family this was a bitter-sweet experience; and we, as families, often share in this bitter-sweetness, in the sickness and death of family members and even in misunderstandings during times of stress.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Respect the elders and love the young. Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. If you have a dispute with someone, make peace before the sun goes down.” Chapter 4:70-72, The Tools for Good Works
“Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Colossians 3:15a,16a