Feast of the Holy Family – Seasonal Reflections

Feast of the Holy Family

Readings: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph | USCCB 

“Now, Lord, you may let your servant go in peace.” These words from the holy man Simeon, as he received into his arms the long-awaited Savior of the world, express the longing of the faithful people of Israel.  For centuries they had waited for the coming of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets, but his coming did not quite live up to the expectations. That is, except to those who saw with faith. 

On the face of it, this scene of the Presentation in the Temple looks no different than most other occurrences of observant Jews of that age. A father and mother bring their newborn into the Temple and offer a sacrifice to God as they were able; this was common. But for one who has faith, who sees the inner-mystery of the Child, this was no ordinary scene. “This is the meeting point of the two Testaments, Old and New.” (Pope Benedict XVI, homily on February 2, 2011) Simeon recognizes that the glory of the Lord has returned to the Temple (cf. Mal. 3:1), and it was only through his deep prayer and faith that he received this sensitivity to grace, this awareness of the Son of God.   

The Lord Jesus often comes in quiet, secret ways, requiring faith and attentiveness on our part to recognize him. The faithful Christian is one who learns to pay attention to grace, to keep a listening heart for the quiet footsteps of the Lord. So that, after a full life, when the Lord bids us one final command, “Follow me,” we can say those blessed words of Simeon, “Now, Lord, you may let your servant go in peace,” and follow those quiet footsteps into the heavenly Temple of Jerusalem. 

Fr. Mark Pavlak, Priest at St. John Vianney Seminary 

The Campus Ministry Seasonal Reflections are offered during the liturgical seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. We bring a variety of voices from Students, Faculty and Staff. The perspectives expressed in these reflections are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Campus Ministry. 

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