The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
According to the 2016-2017 Liturgical Calendar of the USCCB, “In 2016, since a Sunday does not occur between December 25 and January 1, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is celebrated on Friday, December 30, with only one reading before the Gospel.” The month of February is the Month of the Holy Family.
Gospel MT 2:13-15, 19-23
When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.
When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
Jesus The Child, Luke, chapter 2
The Return to Nazareth.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.n
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.o
The Boy Jesus in the Temple.*
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,p
and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”*
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.q
And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man. (r)
Children’s Art Project
Invite your children to paint a picture of the Holy Family– Jesus, Mary, and Joseph–as they imagine they might look– with Jesus as an infant, and/or as a child.
The students need to be prompted, “Who are the members of the Holy Family?”
Encourage them to try using sponges and a toothbrush (dedicated as a “paint brush”) to try making a splatter effect. The children need to have a paper towel in hand as they scrub the toothbrush over the watercolor they want to splatter, then use a finger to run down the bristles and make the little dots on the paper. It’s fun and it gives an antique look to a painting.
The children might want to start with three different sizes circles, for the heads of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. (They don’t need to add facial features.) Tell your children to not worry about the end result, even if the “family members” don’t look exactly as the children hoped they might. My hope, is that they’ll reflect on the Holy Family and learn more about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in a lovely way, through painting and conversation with their own family members.