Imitating the Holy Family

Sunday, December 26th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

We are less than a week away from Christmas Day. Our Blessed Mother takes center stage on this fourth Sunday of

For four weeks of Advent, we celebrate the coming of the Lord into our hearts and at the end of time. After December 17th until December 25th, the focus of the readings at Mass were on the coming of the Christ Child to the little town of Bethlehem 2000 years ago. This year Christmas Day landed on a Saturday which turned into a challenge because for us priests the activities for Christmas began on Friday and culminate this Sunday with the Feast of the Holy Family. It makes for a very long weekend.

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph experienced many of the same joys and trials that all parents and children experience in modern society. And, so, we can look to this Holiest of Families for help in our own family lives and see in them a model of the Christian family life for Catholic Christian families to imitate.

The Gospel passage from Saint Luke starts by telling us something about Jesus’ parents: “Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, and when he was 12 years old, they went up according to festival custom.” This Family took seriously their faith life which was woven into the fabric of their everyday lives. The “Holy Couple” carefully observed the traditions and practice of their Jewish faith and brought up their Son to do the same. They worshiped as a family, and with their faith community. And they did so faithfully and consistently.

We can take their example to heart by making Sunday Mass attendance a priority for our families (sadly, less than 30 percent of Catholics attend Mass on a consistent basis), by making prayer with our family a priority every day, by making sure that we regularly celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and by observing in our family life the feasts and fasts appropriate to the liturgical calendar. When we, as families, prioritize our time with God and worship of Him we will in this simple way be imitating the Holy Family.

On this Feast of the Holy Family, let us reclaim the beauty and importance of family life. Let’s commit to an effort to make our family more Christian and Catholic in the new year, carving out time to spend with God and practicing our Catholic faith as the most important appointments on our family’s calendar.

The coming week is the final week of 2021. If you have not already done so, please consider donating to Saint Joachim Church with an “end of the year tax deductible gift.” Your contribution will help fund the much-needed Church restroom project. You can donate at or drop it off in the parish office.