Feast of the Holy Family, Year C, Intermediate

Download PDF

Intermediate Session
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Luke 2:41-52

Opening Prayer
Let us pray.
God our Father and Creator, thank you for the gift of our families.
Help us to treat the members of our families with honor and respect.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family and our session will explore the sacredness of family life. Begin by inviting the children to create a family treasure chest. Provide paper, markers and a small cardboard box for each child. Explain to the children that they will be filling the box with family treasures. Allow time for the children to decorate their family treasure box. Discuss:
• What do you treasure most about your family?
• How do you show your family thanks?
• How does your family share its treasures with others?

Invite the children to take a few moments to write down all the family treasures that they can think of on a sheet of paper, fold the paper and put it in their family treasure box.

Explain that even the ordinary treasures of family life are sacred. Jesus was born into a family, which makes life in a family holy for all people.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading listen to find out how to treasure our parents.

Read Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• What does this reading tell us about how to treat our parents?
• What reward is promised to those who respect their father and mother?
• Which one of the Ten Commandments does this reading hint at?

In the gospel today listen to find out about Jesus and his family.

Read Luke 2:41-52.
Allow for silence.

• Where did Jesus go with his parents?
• What did Jesus do to make his parents worry?
• Why did Jesus stay in Jerusalem?
• What did Mary find Jesus doing in the Temple?
• How did Mary react when she found Jesus?
• What did Jesus say to his Mother when he was found?

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

The first reading today is part of a larger section of the Old Testament on family life. Today’s reading has to do with the fourth commandment, to honor your father and mother. Children are to treat their parents with care and respect. This passage suggests that showing reverence for one’s father and mother can provide atonement for one’s sins. This claim gives support to our focus for today, that family life can be a source of holiness when lived in keeping with God’s will.

In the gospel reading today, Jesus is missing for a period of time and his family searches for him with great anxiety. The author of today’s gospel is not so much concerned with providing details about the childhood of Jesus, but tries to convey a truth about Jesus’ identity as Messiah, Son of God and Savior. This is evident in the reading by Jesus’ response when Mary finds him in the Temple and asks him why he stayed behind and worried his family. Jesus responds by telling his Mother that she ought to know that he must be in his Father’s house.

All families experience difficult times. In today’s gospel even Jesus caused some anxiety within his family. However, today’s readings offer family members direction by stressing the primacy of treating one another with honor and respect. Today, on the feast of the Holy Family we recognize the full humanity of Jesus. Therefore, we realize our full human nature -- including the reality of family life -- can be a source of holiness.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• Do you show the members of your family respect?
• Have you ever done anything to worry your parents?
• When do you experience family life as a source of holiness?

[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The family as the domestic Church

On this feast of the Holy Family, we focus our attention on the role of the family. The Church teaches that the family molds and shapes individuals as members of society. The love that is given and received in family life nurtures one’s faith and moral values.

The family is the church of the home because it is a community of people who dwell in the love of Christ. The love and support that is experienced within a family gives it the strength to open wide its doors to the needs of the larger community and the world.

• How are values and beliefs passed on in families?
• How do people learn about God and faith from their families?
• How can families share their treasures with the world?

The Gospel in Life
Bring your family treasure box home and share it with your family. Keep it out where it can remind you to thank God for your family treasures.

Posted in: Sessions C