The Holy Family is uniquely focused on fulfilling God’s greatest promise to humanity, namely sending our Savior. The entire focus of this family was on the person of Jesus from his preaching to his childhood, childhood, youth and masculinity. Meanwhile, Jesus focused on his Heavenly Father as he looked into the faces of Joseph and Mary.
Both the first reading and the gospel contain stories of promises God made to man. First, we read about the promise Abram was given that he would have a son of his own flesh and blood. Second, we read about the promise made to the old man, Simeon, that he would not die until he has his gaze fixed on the Christ of the Lord. God kept both promises.
We don’t know how many years it was before the promise to Simeon was fulfilled, but it was 25 years for Abram! We can only imagine how during the day both men would have longed for God to keep His promise to them. Maybe they had moments of doubt? The Holy Spirit would have reminded them of the promise. Over time, they learned to hope that these promises would be fulfilled.
For us, the Holy Family is a strong sign of living hope that God will always keep His promises. If we focus our lives on His Son, we too will find hope that lasts forever.
May we, like Mary and Joseph, know how to focus on Jesus as the center of our families and worship the Father through him. Amen.
“Presentation in the Temple”, c. 1437-45. Fresco, 158 x 136 cm. San Marco, first floor, dormitory, cell No.. 10 (east corridor), Florence Italy. Public domain.
It was written by Fra Angelico: “It is impossible to give too much praise to this Holy Father, who was so humble and humble in everything he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such ease and piety. “(Life of the Artist, Giorgio Vasari). He was probably born as Guido di Pietro between 1390 and 1395 and was one of the leading artists in Florence as early as the 1430s. Shortly before 1423, Guido donned the Dominican habit in the monastery of Fiesole at the gates of Florence and took the name Fra Giovanni (Brother John). . In 1436 he was one of a number of brothers from Fiesole who moved to the newly built Convent of San Marco in Florence, the building of which was under the patronage of Cosimo de ‘Medici, one of the most powerful members of the city government and founder of the dynasty responsible for the Florentine politics would dominate for much of the Renaissance.
In this monastery Fra Angelico painted his famous Annunciation and decorated the cells of the brothers. He drew the Pope’s attention, who asked him to have his private chapel in the Vatican with scenes from the life of St.. Stephen and St. Lawrence to decorate. Fra Angelico died in Rome in 1455 and is buried in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Pope John Paul II. Acknowledged the humble brother’s sanctity by beatifying him in 1982. From various reports we learn of Fra Angelico’s pious and ascetic life as a Dominican monk who follows the instructions of his order and cares for the poor. It is said that he was always in a good mood. He always prayed before starting work and wept as he painted the crucifixion. “Whoever does the work of Christ must always stay with Christ,” he said. During the great Jubilee of 2000, Pope John Paul II declared him. To the patron of all artists.
The scene we are thinking about is in cell 10 of St. Mark’s Monastery in Florence. There are 44 cells and Fra Angelico had one thing in mind: the scene in each cell should stimulate the resident’s dedication. What attracts me to this particular fresco is the “dialogue” between the high priest and the divine child. Take a good look at her eyes. There is a direct contact that leaves you wondering what they said to each other. Our Lady is about to present two lovebirds behind her to the child, St. Joseph – the sacrifice of the poor. Every Jewish family had to “buy back” their firstborn son in thanks to God, who had preserved their ancestor’s firstborn on the night of the Passover. The Dominican martyr St. Acts as a mediator between the viewer and the depicted holy figures. Peter (often featured in Fra Angelico’s paintings) and the Blessed Villana, a Florentine saint of the 14th century. Century.
While the scene appears peaceful enough, the presence of Saint Peter Martyr reminds us of the consequences of following this child. The whole event of that day is indeed shocking. The old man Simeon meets Mary either on the way to the temple or on the way back. He would have recognized her easily enough, for she had spent most of her youth there studying, if the tradition were right. His surprise is that it is her child who is the Savior whom the Holy Spirit has promised that he would draw his eyes to himself before he died (perhaps this was the line that led Fra Angelico to make eye contact between the Emphasize child and the high priest. ) Simeon’s meeting with Notre Dame is almost a second proclamation, for now he describes her future. Your child will only accomplish his mission through misunderstanding and grief. Jesus’ invitation to follow him is refused. His teaching will be like a sword that would split the world in two, and that sword will pierce his mother’s heart as well.
And Mary won’t have to wait long for the prophecy to come true. She returns to Nazareth to witness the unprecedented horror of the murder of her neighbor’s children. She becomes the mother of a hunted god – a god condemned to death when he was a child. She escapes to Egypt, but that only means that her son’s execution has been postponed. In Cana, when she asks her son to help an embarrassed young couple, he replies that a miracle will anger his enemies. He will comply with her request, he says, but only if she accepts the consequences with him: “What for me, for you,” the Greek says literally.
Viewing this scene of the presentation prompted Pope Paul VI. on the letter: “The Church … has discovered in the heart of the Virgin … the desire to offer a sacrifice” (Marialis Cultus, 20), a sacrifice of herself – but in the sacrifice. And her son’s sacrifice is hinted at in the diapers in which he is tied, reminiscent of the coming shroud.
Father Mark De Battista is the administrator of the St. Patrick’s Parish in Port Kembla. His family, born in 1970, emigrated from Malta to Australia in 1978. He grew up in a strong Catholic family and was ordained a priest of the Wollongong Diocese in 1995. From 2003 to 2007 he worked at the Department of Universities in the USA (Illinois and Colorado). . From 2010 to 2016 he went to Rome to study the Scriptures. He has served in several parishes in the Wollongong Diocese.
Monsignor Graham Schmitzer recently retired as a pastor in the Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Unanderra, NSW. He was ordained a priest in 1969 and has served in many parishes in Wollongong Diocese. He was Chancellor and Secretary to Bishop William Murray for 13 years. He grew up in Port Macquarie and was raised by the sisters of St. Joseph educated by Lochinvar. He worked for the Attorney General and Justice Department for two years before joining the St. Attended Columba’s College in Springwood. Father Graham loves to travel and has visited many of the largest art galleries in Europe.
Thanks to the Diocese of Wollongong for providing the weekly reflections on Advent and Christmas 2020 from their publication Adore – Advent & Christmas Daily Reflections 2020.
News – PH – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph