Feast of the Holy Family (Year C)
1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Luke 2: 41-52
First of all I want to say God bless you for returning to this Church so soon after such a
large day yesterday.
In some ways this Feast of the Holy Family should be placed before Christmas. In
order to prepare us for a couple of days filled with family and friends.
In any case, today we celebrate the Holy Family. I am going to focus on the gospel
reading of the young Jesus, and how he stayed behind in Jerusalem to be in his
As a little boy hearing the gospel every week here in this church house this is one of the
stories that has always stuck with me.
Maybe it stood out because there are not many stories of Jesus as a child. A child with
a father, mother, family and friends - a family to grow up with, to have adventures with,
to build things in the workshop with, to help in the kitchen with, to play with, and,
probably, to argue with and learn lessons from.
These are, of course, the things families are for and the things all young boys and girls
live for. Just like the boy Jesus.
To help illustrate my point, I would like to read a short story written by author Steven
Lawson called “The Fishing Trip”. It goes like this:
“At the constant request of his young son, a busy Dad took a day off to go fishing. It
was just the two of them. Leaving behind a desk cluttered with unfinished business, the
father drove to a secluded lake where they spent the day together fishing, rowing,
talking and fishing some more.
Throughout the day, all the father could think about was the pressing deadlines that he
had left behind. Phone calls to return. Projects to complete. Assignments to finish.
Meetings to make.
Years later their two diaries were discovered as each recorded what the day meant to
them. In the fatherʼs journal was recorded, “Took my son fishing. Another day lost.”
But in the boyʼs diary, the entry read, “Spent the day with Dad. It was one of the
greatest days of my life.”
There are many things we could say about this story. I would like us to focus on the impression
that was left on the young boy. The boy was left with an impression of the time spent
with his father. A very happy memory. A memory that was not relative to his fatherʼs
worries. The father in the story was concerned about his own worries. In spite of this
fact, the boy received a gift of great value from a member of his family.
The same is true of the story of the boy Jesus. In the gospel we hear a story that points
to the divinity of Jesus and the trust he had in his family not to forget him but to search
for him as any good parents would. In this story we should recognize the great
adventure that the young Jesus is having, it is one of the few times we see Jesus as a
young boy. Can you imagine his excitement at finding someone to talk to about his
Heavenly Father and engaging in questioning and learning from the Spiritual leaders of
his community. Can you imagine his pleasure at seeing his parents after three days.
Mary and Joseph were obviously worried but this was not relative to the missing Jesus.
Just as the little boy, in the fishing trip story, was not concerned about his fatherʼs
worries. Jesusʼ adventure was relative to Him, his Heavenly Father and to the receivers
of the story. The young boyʼs fishing adventure was also an important piece of his own
life, and made possible in spite of his fatherʼs worries. His father was simply there for
In the same way, Mary and Joseph were there for Jesus. They gathered him up and
returned to Nazareth.
To Maryʼs credit, she did not remember this experience as an inconvenience to her and
Joseph, the gospel tells us that she treasured all these things in her heart. She
understood that this adventure was relative to her role as a Friend of God and not to her
own distress and worry.
Jesus also would have remembered this event as a great adventure.
For myself, as a receiver of the story, I recall being a small boy and how I could relate to
the adventure of Jesus “the boy” and I also recall the memories of coming to this church
with family and friends to hear this story.
To close I want to read another story. This story is called “What Kids Need”
As you listen to this story, I would like you to understand this points to all family
- to the children looking for adventures, also
- to the parents, grand parents, care givers and friends of all children.
- and also to God as part of our family and the source of our inspiration and love.
“Todays kids desperately need heroes who .... play catch, enjoy tea parties or wrestle
because the heart of a child is there and they set out to capture it.
Heroes who...... laugh till their belly hurts and tears fall from their eyes, while secretly
creating deep friendships and memories that last a life time.
Heroes who....make mistakes but consider them wonderful opportunities to learn;
Heroes that.... place a preschool concert, or a ten year olds baseball game on lifeʼs
agenda because they are of infinite worth to those playing.
Heroes that.... love at all times, because love is a gift freely given and not a reward for
service well done
Heroes that.... listen eye to eye and with both ears even if it means getting on one knee
Heroes who.... admit when they are wrong and work to make things right.
Heroes who....hear about those in need and say,”Letʼs do something to help right now!”
and set off an uncontrollable wildfire of generosity and kindness.
Heroes who.... give credit to others and empower those they touch to succeed in all
Heroes who.... model love as action, commitment and truth even when it hurts because
they believe God can work miracles in even the hardest heart.
Finally, they need heroes that... Love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind and
know the rest is just details.
The boy Jesus had these qualities in Mary and Joseph.... can our children find these
qualities in us?