First reading Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6,12-14

He who fears the Lord respects his parents

The Lord honours the father in his children,
  and upholds the rights of a mother over her sons.
Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins,
  he who honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune.
Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own,
  he shall be heard on the day when he prays.
Long life comes to him who honours his father,
  he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.
My son, support your father in his old age,
  do not grieve him during his life.
Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy,
  do not despise him in your health and strength;
for kindness to a father shall not be forgotten
  but will serve as reparation for your sins.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 127(128):1-5

O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!
 
O blessed are those who fear the Lord
  and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
  You will be happy and prosper.
 
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
  in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive,
  around your table.
 
Indeed thus shall be blessed
  the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion
  all the days of your life!
 
 

Gospel Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

The flight into Egypt and the return to Nazareth

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
 
I called my son out of Egypt.
 
After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:
 
‘He will be called a Nazarene.’
 
 
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The Holy Family

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family – the bond of love that surrounded and invaded Mary, Joseph and Jesus. In today’s gospel, we see it was not a ‘happy- ever- after’ for Joseph, Mary and Jesus. They were refugees who had to escape from Herod and later from his son, Archelaus. Joseph, Mary and Jesus experienced suffering, loneliness in a foreign land, the anxiety of not knowing what would happen next, etc. Yet, they lived deeply trusting God because they knew He would never abandon them. Living with this deep trust in God, Mary and Joseph did not let the circumstances of their lives harden them.
 
In life, we are constantly challenged with new problems, uncertainties of the future and the everyday demands of life. In the face of these circumstances, let us learn from the Holy Family how we can trust in God’s loving care.
 
Reflective question:
How do I live through difficult moments in life?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.