Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Holy Family: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—7 January AD 2018
Ave Maria!

Please pray for Alfie Evans, 19 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Britain.

Ordinary of the Mass
Today's Mass text - Latin
Today's Mass text - English

EPISTLE: Colossians iii[1]

    Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: [13] Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. [14] But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: [15] And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful.  [16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. [17] All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.


[18] Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it behoveth in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter towards them. [20] Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord. [21] Fathers, provoke not your children to indignation, lest they be discouraged. [22] Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God. [23] Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men: [24] Knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance. Serve ye the Lord Christ. [25] For he that doth wrong, shall receive for that which he hath done wrongfully: and there is no respect of persons with God.

GOSPEL: Luke ii: 42-52[2]

    And when Jesus was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did ye not know that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wis­dom, and age, and grace with God and men.

    This feast of the Holy Family is of relatively recent origin.  It displaced the Mass of the First Sunday after Epiphany, which had the same Gospel as the one we just read.  There are sermons on this Gospel that go back the early Church Fathers,[3]  But organized devotion to the Holy Family as a unit goes back only to the 17th century.  Such devotion was popular in Belgium and France, and spread to the Americas via Canada.  The first Archbishop of Montreal, François de Laval, founded a diocesan Confraternity of the Holy Family in 1663.  Only in 1893 did the saintly Pope Leo XIII introduce the Mass and Office, which were extended to the Universal Church by Pope Benedict XV in 1921.

    The timing of this seems to coincide with the “Industrial Revolution” during which many families moved to the cities in order to obtain employment in the factories that were then proliferating.  Heretofore, most of Christendom had been agricultural, with families living on modest to large plots of land.

    City life was quite different.  Few families owned their own dwelling, but were forced to rent cramped apartments.  Women and children joined the labor force in order to pay for the necessities of life.  Farm families had always worked together, but now they were forced to go to separate jobs.  Hours could be long and dangerous, but complaints could well be answered by loss of a job.  Land-lords and factory owners were able to make unreasonable demands of helpless families.  “If you don’t come in Sunday, don’t come in Monday” became an all too frequent admonition, with the obvious loss of holy days and the opportunity to rest a weary body.

    Cramped quarters and low income made families smaller—often through sinful means. 

    Clearly, industrial labor had become a religious issue.  Pope Leo issued his famous encyclical, Rerum novarum in 1891.[4]  The encyclical considered the mutually beneficial relationship between capital and labor, advocated that families acquire private property, cautioned against government interference, condemned socialism, and even suggested the formation of labor unions.  (Pope Leo’s unions were very tame by modern standards, advocating no violence and a lot of Catholic education for the members.)  Leo stressed the mutual benefits of labor and capital working in partnership.  Good things could be accomplished through cooperation—human life could be improved by labor saving devices, increased agricultural production, and medical advances.

    Forty year later, Pope Pius XI would condemn socialism in even more forceful terms:  “no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true Socialist.”[5]

    The Mass and Office of the Holy Family was accompanied by a papal brief, Neminem fugit on 14 June 1892.  (I am unable to find the brief online, but parts of it are quoted in the Office.)[6]   The brief is directed solely to family members and advocates mothers, fathers, and children patterning their lives on Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  It is timeless advice—at least as valid today as it was in 1892.

    Fathers have no better example of provider and protector than the carpenter Joseph, who hid his family from King Herod through exile in Egypt.  Joseph was the one who taught the Son of God to pray with the intricacies of the Hebrew religion and language—not to mention how to work in wood.

    Mothers can look to Mary if they find the tasks of home‑making and child‑rearing tedious.  And, as Pope Leo wrote: “an excellent example of love, modesty, resignation of spirit, and the perfecting of faith.”

    And children, in Jesus, Who “went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and was subject to them” … “a divine pattern of obedience which they can admire, reverence, and imitate.”

    The affluent can recognize in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the dignity of the hard working poor.  The poor can pride themselves on sharing the lot of the Holy Family.

    Finally, let me say it again that, the message of the Holy Family is timeless.  In the 17th and 18th centuries the effects of the Industrial Revolution weighed heavily on Christendom and Western Civilization.  Today we are faced with cultural Marxism and its “long march through the institutions” of Western Civilization—its Marxist infiltration of Church and state; the universities and schools; of legislatures and courts; of the “fake media,” cinema, and theatre; and of families themselves through its “sexual revolution”—its attack on rights to tradition, property, family, self‑defense, privacy, and human life itself![7]

    The teachings of Leo XIII, Pius XI, the timeless examples of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; and their prayers are our best defense against the “long march” against Christendom and Western Civilization.

    Lord Jesus Christ, who subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate family life by thy unspeakable virtues, aid us by their united intercession to profit by the examples of thy Holy Family, and attain to their everlasting companionship:  Thou dost live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever.




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