by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
The Feast of the Holy Family is a recent feast in the liturgy of the church, and by that, I mean within the last 100 years or 150 years that we began to celebrate such a feast. It doesn’t go back to the early days of the church, like the Feast of the Nativity or the Resurrection and so on. The people who put together Scripture readings in order to celebrate this Feast of the Holy Family had some difficulties, obviously, because there’s very little about the Holy Family in the Gospels.
In fact, almost all about the Holy Family is what we hear during this Christmas season — the first couple of chapters of Luke’s Gospel and these parts of Matthew’s Gospel. After that, there’s only one other mention of Jesus during his childhood, and that’s when he was just becoming a teenager and was lost in the temple. His parents, after only feeling great distress for a number of days, found him, rejoiced, and took him back to Nazareth.
That’s about the end of what we hear about the childhood, the family life of Jesus. Yet if we listen carefully to the Scriptures today, we will discover something about what Jesus learned and how he developed as a child and entered into his family life. Today’s Gospel lesson, even though it’s not so much about the family life of Jesus — in fact, it’s much more about what we celebrate at Christmas, the extraordinary mystery of the Incarnation.…