Thursday, 18 December 2014

28.12.14 He, the Lord, is our God.

The Feast of the Holy Family (Year B)

Welcome to a little liturgy.  I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas.  This week we look at the importance of family.  Both Sarah and Mary were sent children in unusual circumstances.  I hope that this week's a little liturgy gives you some food for thought.

I have posted this early - so if you are looking for Christmas Day or 4th Sunday of Advent, please scroll down!

Summary of the Liturgy of the Word

First Reading
Genesis15:1-6, 21:1-3
The Lord comforts Abraham.  Abraham is unhappy as he has no children and says "some man of my household will be my heir".  However, God tells him to look up and count the stars.  He says he will have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky.  Because Abraham trusted the Lord, his wife gave birth to a son who was called Isaac.

Ps 104:1-6,8-9. R.vv.7-8
He, the Lord, is our God.
He remembers his covenant forever.

Second Reading
Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19
This letter tells us of the faith that Abraham and Sarah had in God.  Abraham set out for a new country and was even willing to sacrifice his son Isaac to please God.  Sarah was able to have a child in old age because she believed in God's power.

Luke 2:22-40
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate him to God, according to the Jewish custom.  They met a holy man called Simeon who had been told by God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.  Simeon took Jesus in his arms and blessed God.  He told them that Jesus would be "a sign that is rejected".  He said that he was now ready to die as he had seen the "salvation".  There was also a prophetess called Anna who recognised the greatness of Jesus.  


Abraham, who we often refer to at Mass as "our father in faith", is mentioned in both the first and second readings this week.  This reminds us that the notion of trusting God goes back to times before Christ.  The faith of the people in the Old Testament often had a direct impact on their lives; just as today our faith affects our lives.   
Mary and Joseph practiced the Jewish religion.  They both trusted in God and went to the temple to consecrate their son to God.  They made a sacrifice of two birds in keeping with the Jewish custom.  Simeon and Anna are both devoted to God and recognise that the baby they see is sent from God.  Mary and Joseph are surprised about the things that are said.  Simeon proclaims the prayer that we now know as the "Nunc dimittis".  It is a wonderfully assured profession of his faith in God.  However, he also warns of rejection and says to Mary "a sword will pierce your own soul too".  

Activity at Mass

Activity A
Look at the prayer that Simeon addresses to God.  It is now known as the "Nunc Dimittis"or the "Song of Simeon".  A popular version is written below:

"Now, Lord, you have kept your word:
let your servant go in peace.

With my own eyes I have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

Read this carefully and write out your own version.  You might start with:

Now that you have kept your promise to me........

If you have time, try to learn the words by heart.  It is a good prayer to help you reflect after communion - a time when we are as close to the Lord as Simeon was.

Activity B
Simeon talks of Christ being a "light".  Think of other times that we talk of Christ being a light in the scriptures.  Often we use candles to represent the light of Christ.  Pay careful attention in church today and see how the candles are used.

Other Activities and Resources

As this is the feast of the Holy Family, you might like to make a family tree to explore where you came from.  You could make it in 3D and hang pictures of your relatives on the branches.  You could then compose a prayer for the members of your family.

Simeon speaks of Jesus as the light.  He is often depicted as this in Christian art.  Look at the picture below and think about what the artist, Holman Hunt, is saying about Christ.

The Light of the World

Have a good week!


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