The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus Mary and Joseph is celebrated on Sunday December 26, 2021. Families are responsible for the safety and upbringing of their children. In our day, as in the time of Jesus, there are refugees seeking sanctuary in traditional and untraditional places. Today, we remember the holy family’s flight into Egypt just as the Jewish people remembered Joseph’s flight into Egypt. We also celebrate Jesus’ return to his homeland with Joseph and Mary. Seeking a safe refuge tests a family’s strength. The Lord is our refuge and strength. Kyrie eleison! 


By Michael R. Prendergast

“Put on love, that is, the bond of perfection” Colossians 3:14

Reflection: The popular television show Modern Family stars several families who are connected to one another through various relationships. This program portrays a pretty accurate view of how our society has changed to accommodate the various “new” definitions of “family” There is a traditional family (mom, dad, two kids), a same-sex couple raising their daughter, and a blended family (dad, mom and her biological son).

So, I ask myself is the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph a traditional or a blended family? Whatever we call it, the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is a family that “put on love” and they continue to model this love for all people. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium, (the Joy of the Gospel) tells us: “everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason” (EG, 47) Are we making judgments about which family to welcome and which family to keep out? Our Holy Father is clear “the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems” (EG, 47). Instead of dreaming about the day when all will be welcomed to the house of the Church can we make this a reality, today, in our faith communities?
As music ministers, do we invite all members of the community to participate in music ministry, or do we exclude certain members of the community because the person is divorced, in an irregular marriage, in a same-sex relationship or other situation? The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum concilium) tells us that the “liturgy is the sacrament of unity” (SC, 26). If today choose the carol “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice” and sing the words “Christ has opened heaven’s door” will we consider the words of Pope Francis “our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door” (EG, 47)? Will the music we sing for this feast and throughout the Christmas season embrace all in love, the bond of perfection? Good Christian Friends Rejoice!

Prayer: Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, open our hearts and minds to embrace all families with open doors, so that all will be led to the banquet table of the Lamb. Amen!

Michael R. Prendergast, Sacred Liturgy Ministries, Portland, Oregon. Copyright 2013 National Association of Pastoral Musicians