Rembrandt’s “Presentation” of 1627 (left) and 1669 (right)
Charles Hunt, “Children Acting the ‘Play Scene’ from ‘Hamlet’ (Act III, Scene 2),” 1863
Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. This Mass was celebrated in Saint Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn, Derry.
A couple of years ago the family of world-famous poet Seamus Heaney found a long-lost unpublished poem of his called A Christmas Rhyme which he had privately written and shared with them as a gift. Like all of our families, the Heaney family had their own Christmas rituals and Seamus’ poem describes how they would do “the rounds”, year after year, of visiting aunties and uncles, setting down memories for life of family characters, kindnesses, love and Christmas cheer.
These days we hear a great deal about ecology, and rightly so. We must take care of the created world in its beauty and resources.
Interestingly, the word ‘ecology’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘home’ or ‘place to live’. So, it is a word that can be applied not only to the natural world but also to our homes and to the Church. It is a good word to have in mind as we celebrate this Feast of the Holy Family.
This year has been so difficult for many families. Homelife has been tested, and financial worries burden many. Separation from loved ones has been painful and many have lost loved ones in death, with little chance to grieve them fully. So, the Prayers of the Mass today are vital. In them, we seek God’s blessing on our families and homes, that they may be places of kindness and joy. The reading from St Paul to the Colossians spelt out what that means in practice: compassion, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. Then he added, ‘Over these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love.’
Pope Francis offered some common sense but profound advice for families during his Angelus Address on December 27, 2020, the Feast of the Holy Family.
In light of the pandemic restrictions, the Holy Father spoke from the Library of the Apostolic Palace, focusing on families both before and after praying the noonday Angelus with the faithful connect via social media around the world.
“In imitation of the Holy Family, we are called to rediscover the educational value of the family unit: it must be founded on the love that always regenerates relationships, opening up horizons of hope,” the Pope said. “Within the family, one can experience sincere communion when it is a house of prayer, when the affections are serious, profound, pure, when forgiveness prevails over discord, when the daily harshness of life is softened by mutual tenderness and serene adherence to God’s will. In this way, the family opens itself to the joy that God gives to all those who know how to give joyfully.”
Vatican City, Dec 27, 2020 / 06:45 am (CNA).- Pope Francis urged families across the world Sunday to look to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph for “sure inspiration.”
In his Angelus address Dec. 27, the feast of the Holy Family, the pope encouraged Catholics to seek the renewal of family life.
He said: “It is good to reflect on the fact that the Son of God wanted to be in need of the warmth of a family, like all children. Precisely for this reason, because it is Jesus’ family, the family of Nazareth is the model family, in which all families of the world can find their sure point of reference and sure inspiration.”
Pope Francis in his Angelus commentary on the Feast of the Holy Family — December 27, 2020 — noted the upcoming anniversary of Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, promulgated five years ago this coming March 19, 2021. In that context, he announced a year of reflection on the document and said reflections will be available to communities and families throughout the world.
“As of now, I invite everyone to take part in the initiatives that will be promoted during the Year and that will be coordinated by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family, and Life,” the Holy Father said. He spoke from the Library of the Apostolic Palace due to the pandemic restrictions in place.
Following is the full text of the Pope’s Angelus commentary, provided by the Vatican.