Bulletin December 31
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
“[H]e thought the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.” Abraham trusted in God, although what God had promised seemed impossible. And yet, God fulfilled his promise to Abraham and Sarah and gave them a much-longed-for son, through whom the people would be as numerous as the stars of the sky.
Mary and Joseph fulfilled the law of God by bringing Jesus to the temple for the customary rites. They obeyed the law of the Lord, even though it could be argued that Jesus, being God, was exempt from the law.
We see in their example how faith in God is considered “an act of righteousness.” We can follow in their footsteps and believe that the Lord is one whose promises are trustworthy.
GOD’S WORD HAS BEEN FULFILLED
In this joyous Christmas time, it is fitting that we turn our attention from all the angels and shepherds and kings to take a look at the more intimate picture of the Holy Family in their ordinary life. They come with Jesus to consecrate him to the Lord, as is written in the law, and they come upon Simeon and Anna, prophets of the Lord, who have amazing things to say about this child and Mary, his mother. One can wonder what Mary must have thought when Simeon told her that “you yourself a sword will pierce.” We interpret that in hindsight she would suffer greatly at the crucifixion of her beloved son. But what must she have thought at the possible literal interpretation of this prophecy? And yet she was, as always, obedient to God and accepting of God’s word for her.
Simeon and Anna recognized in this infant the Messiah of God. Both were “righteous and devout” and prayed in the temple constantly. Simeon spoke at length to Mary and Joseph about this child, and Anna proclaimed to all the salvation of Israel in Jesus. Throughout the centuries, God had made use of many prophets to proclaim the coming of Jesus, as Jesus explained to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after his death and resurrection. But people, being hard-hearted and somewhat clueless, did not recognize these prophecies as referring to the Messiah and later, to Jesus. Many in his time heeded the words of the prophets and believed, but many walked away. To those who believed, he gave the words of eternal life. They believed that “the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.” These loving parents would protect and raise this miraculous child, and he “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”