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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, December 31, 2023, The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3 Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19 Luke 2:22-40

On this Sunday following the commemoration of the Nativity of the Lord, it seems fitting to celebrate the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

In today’s gospel, Luke makes a point of writing that the members of the Holy Family were all practicing Jews who were proud of their religious heritage. So it is that the setting for this reading is the Temple in Jerusalem. Throughout the New Testament we read that Jesus loved his Jewish Faith. He came to earth, not to deny Judaism or to rail against it, but to add a new perspective…the perspective of the long-awaited Messiah - the Savior of the world. Moreover, Jesus came to extend the invitation of salvation to all people, not just to the Jews.

Faith and patience are the two primary themes in today’s readings, whether it is the faith of Abraham and Sarah, the faith of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, or the faith of the righteous Simeon and the prophetess Anna (both of whom had been waiting for the Messiah for decades).

Perhaps, like me, you have sometimes identified with the man who’s story appears in the Gospel of Mark (chapter 9, verse 24), when he says: “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief!” In my case, no matter how strong I think my faith is, there are times when I give in to the temptation to doubt God’s faithfulness or to question God’s unconditional love for me. I suspect most if not all of us have had that experience.

In the stories presented in today’s readings, people are asked to demonstrate profound faith…and to be patient in doing so. I invite you to choose any one of those people and spend a few moments reflecting on his/her life. If you had the opportunity to talk with that person, what questions would you ask?

Now, let me ask a question or two. How do you find the strength to live in faith; especially in these days when faith is sometimes hard to come by, and your patience is nearly at an end?

Who have been your teachers?

by: Bill Miller

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