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Holy Family | Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Being holy doesn’t mean that our lives are perfect, serene or easy.  It means that no matter what’s going on, we love one another and try to help one another be our best.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

I have always loved that on the day the Church celebrates the Holy Family—Jesus, Mary and Joseph—the Gospel is the story of when Jesus went missing.  It’s a great story because it shows the care and concern that parents have for their children, the challenge that is parenthood and the real point of family life—to help one another to fulfill our destinies; to become what we are called to be.  The Holy Family does this with mutual love, respect and patience.  Mary and Joseph were truly scared when they couldn’t find Jesus. Mary said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” They didn’t understand what he meant when he replied,“Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”, but they loved and cared for him all the same. Even though he was God, he “was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.  And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”  This shows us a little glimpse into the Holy Family’s life—it wasn’t easy.  It was a struggle. The Holy Family was poor, insignificant and real. This story is the last time we hear about Joseph—he may have passed away shortly after this, for all we know. Family life is not always easy—but when we trust in God and live God’s plan for us, it can make us more holy.

You can read this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Feast of the Holy Family, Cycle C


Break Open the Word with Your Family


Do you know what the word “holy” means?  If not, ask your parents.  What are some ways that your family is holy?  How are you holy?


When Jesus was twelve, he had a situation with his parents—and probably not the only one—where they didn’t get him.   Do you ever feel like that?  What was their conversation like when Mary and Joseph found Jesus?  What kind of a conversation would you like to have with your parents when they don’t “get” you?


What is your favorite thing about living in your family?  What things do you “ponder in your heart”? How can you help to make yours a holy family?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.


A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.


The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”


Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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