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First Sunday after Christmas
HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY & JOSEPH

Psalm 128, Verse 1-4:
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, and who walk in his ways. 2 What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be blessed and prosper: 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your home, your children like young olive plants around your table.4 Just so will the man be blessed who fears the LORD.

Those who fear the Lord work to not react to their feelings but act from the principle of God’s unconditional love to empower others even at personal cost. They practice the three cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. The act of blessing works both ways and bless’ all; both those who receive and those who give.

This psalm is a statement that the ever-reliable God will bless the reverent. God’s blessing is concrete: satisfaction and prosperity, a fertile spouse and abundant children. The perspective is that of the adult male, ordinarily the ruler and representative of the household to the community. The last verses extend the blessing to all the people for generations to come.[1]

Feast of the Holy Family[2]

Given the build-up of Christmas it might seem strange that the feast of the holy family is celebrated so late when the holy family has just been formed by the birth of the son? The surprising answer is that the family had not been formed by this event. According to the Mosaic Law, a Hebrew boy was not part of the family until he was circumcised eight days after his birth; only then was he given his name, i.e., his identity as an individual and as a son of Abraham. But there is a deeper reason as well. Paradoxically, it is only after we have contemplated the various revelations of the Light to both Jew and Gentile that we can appreciate the period of Jesus' life that is shrouded in obscurity. It is because we now know who the boy Jesus truly is that we can understand the importance of His family and the excellence of His so-called hidden life. Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, we now recognize Him as the Messiah for whom the Jews yearned; like the Magi, whose gifts bespoke their convictions, we now recognize Him as a King worthy of gold, as God worthy of frankincense, and as the Suffering Servant to be one day buried with myrrh. And like the Blessed Virgin, who -- as we learn from the Gospel on this feast-- kept all these things in her heart, we are now in a position to appreciate the unique role of His Holy Family in the economy of our salvation. The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph holds up the domestic life of Jesus, his mother, and foster father as the perfect model for all Catholic households. As Pope Leo XIII explains, there is a lesson in this family for everyone: for fathers, for mothers, for children; for nobility (the Holy Family was from the royal house of David), for the poor (they gave up their possessions in fleeing to Egypt), and so on. There are no prescribed or uniform customs for the feast, but that does not mean no observances were made. The following is an account from Father Weiser of Holy Family Sundays at our own parish, Holy Trinity German Church, in the 1940s.
The annual Holy Childhood procession, on the feast of the Holy Family, is one of the most attractive ceremonies. In former years this procession was called the "Shepherds' Procession" as the children marched through the church dressed as shepherds and shepherdesses -- a lovely relic of popular medieval piety (Holy Trinity Parish, 1844-1944, p. 37).
This feast is also an ideal time to pray any of the devotions to the Holy Family that are given in the Raccolta, the Church's old official list of indulgences. The fact that many of these prayers are no longer indulgenced does not make them any less meaningful or worthy of use. Let us reflect that the Holy family was holy because of how they interacted with each other and the world. 
A good practice during the twelve nights of Christmas would be to turn off the TV and to rest and have joyful prayer with the family.  It is good to remember that Christ’s primary teachers in the faith were Joseph and Mary.  We also should remember to not rely on schools to bring up our children in devotion to the Lord and that we are the primary teachers of Faith, Hope and Love in our families.


Things to Do[3]

·         Let us imitate the Holy Family in our Christian families, and our family will be a stronghold and a prefiguration of the heavenly family. Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. Also pray for all families and for our country to uphold the sanctity of the marriage bond which is under attack.

·         Read more about Pope Leo XIII who instituted the Feast of the Holy Family and read his encyclical On Christian Marriage. You can also check out the Vatican's page of Papal documents on the Family.
·         Read the explanation of Jesus' knowledge in the activities section. Read Pope Pius X's Syllabus of Errors which condemns the modernist assertion that Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

·         Have the whole family participate in cooking dinner. You might try a Lebanese meal. Some suggestions: stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage rolls, lentils and rice, spinach and meat pies, chicken and dumplings, hummus, Lebanese bread, tabbouleh — a Lebanese salad and kibbi, a traditional Lebanese dish of specially ground meat mixed with spices and cracked wheat. This is the same kind of food that Mary served Jesus and St. Joseph. It's healthy and delicious.

Christmas Calendar[4]

Read: Today, we honor the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Take time to read Pope Francis's homily on the Feast of the Holy Family in 2014. The ideas and messages he presented are still relevant today.

Reflect: "Christmas celebrates the fruit of Mary and Joseph's trust in God. The long-awaited Messiah, sent to save us from our sins and win back the eternal blessedness lost by Adam's sin, is born. The Son of God is like us in all things but sin. We learn from the Incarnation that our success is in God's hands. Without the Father's love, we would be lost for all eternity. Mary and Joseph sacrificed greatly to make the arduous journey to Bethlehem, to obey God's directive to flee into Egypt, and to go to Nazareth to raise Jesus. Ambiguity, uncertainty, and brokenness touched the Holy Family. Their lives teach us that we cannot understand God's designs. This wonderful lesson urges parents to put their families in God's hands and trust that their efforts will bear fruit. Faithful parents are examples for us, single or married. We, too, are to put ourselves in God's hands. In so doing, God's grace helps us realize better the depths of who we are and what we are called to become."


Act: "A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God, to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, to pray for someone experiencing difficulty, to ask for help in showing love, to give thanks for life and for its blessings, and to ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle." —Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 318

At the start of this New Year, make a commitment to pray together as a family every day.

Cup of Wisdom

For Christmas my wonderful wife brought me three coffee mugs on being 1) a man of courage 2) a man of strength and 3) a man of wisdom. To be a person of wisdom there is no better model for us than that of the Holy Family. Here is what is on the wisdom mug my wife gave me: Blessed is the man who uses knowledge and experience to improve the well-being of others who guides with respect and encourages with love. “Make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths.” (Psalm 25: 4)

Sixth Day of Christmas-Six Geese a-Laying = the six days of creation[5]

1st Day: Creation of light and its separation from darkness
2nd Day: Creation of the firmament and division of the waters
3rd Day: Collection of waters (sea) and formation of dry land (earth); creation of plants according to their own likeness
4th Day: Creation of heavenly bodies in the firmament (sun, moon, and stars)
5th Day: Creation of sea creatures and winged fowl from the waters
6th Day: Creation of cattle, creeping things, and beasts from the dry land; creation of mankind, male and female


49 Godly Character Traits[6]

During this Christmas season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Orderliness vs. Disorganization

Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40)

1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."
1901 If authority belongs to the order established by God, "the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free decision of the citizens."
The diversity of political regimes is morally acceptable, provided they serve the legitimate good of the communities that adopt them. Regimes whose nature is contrary to the natural law, to the public order, and to the fundamental rights of persons cannot achieve the common good of the nations on which they have been imposed.
2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Devotion to the Holy Face Day 5



[3]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2016-12-30
[6]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/

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