Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Today in the traditional Roman calendar is the Feast of the Holy Family.

I think in most places today where the Novus Ordo is celebrated, you are probably observing Epiphany.   It shouldn’t be Epiphany, which ought to be 6 January, but I digress.

Was there a good point or two in the sermon you heard during your Mass to fulfill your Sunday obligation?

Let us know.

For my part, I spoke about how the Lord’s first recorded words, “How is it that you sought me? Did ye not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
Christ came into the world to save us, but also to reveal who we really are more fully to ourselves. He teaches us who we are in every deed and word. His first recorderd words require special attention. How does he start teaching us by words and deeds? What does He first teach? Obedience and meakness. Christ’s first recorded words are a rebuke to his parents. The 12 year old rebukes his parents. However, since it is Christ who rebukes, the rebuke must be flawless and merited and just. Something deep must be in the rebuke which reveals who He is and which reveals who we are. Hence, the rebuke was a reminder reminder to his parents and to us that He is a divine person, not a human person. The rebuke was a way of saying, “You know full well who I AM. Without my willing it no harm can befall me. It is not my time yet. It was not therefore necessary for you to be concerned or sorrowful.” So, as a Divine Person, Christ shows that He is the true authority in the Holy Family and the foundation of its holiness. Mary and Joseph accept this with meakness and silence. The exchange between them teaches us the lesson of trusting God and accepting correction in meakness, humility and silence. Mary was silent and, again, pondered these things. Joseph is always silent.

However, Christ came to teach us in His, our, humanity. So, in the next moment, He is subject to their human authority. Then He is silent (in the pages of Scripture at least) for many years.

Christ teaches about trust, obedience and humility in a rebuke and in personal example. Mary and Joseph teach about trust, obedience and humility in how they handle the rebuke and then in taking charge again of the 12 year old Lord… who has reminded them that He is their Lord. The Creator is silently obedient to His creatures, to teach about obedience and silence. The Head of the Family teaches. The Body of the Family teach us. Head and Body together, one Family, teach us. And a key to the teaching is silence. Silence is the necessary condition of listening, which is the root of obedience, from Latin ob-audire.

How many sins could avoid if we were cheerfully to keep our mouths shut?

When we are rebuked or corrected how do we react? Do we react first with anger? Lash back. Stubbornly defend our turf?

Years later, Christ would again be in the Temple and, this time, truly would be in danger, the kind of danger foretold by Simeon to Mary at another moment when she silently pondered in her heart. Again, in mortal danger, Christ – THE Authority – submitted to human authorities and was silent, like the Lamb lead to slaughter.

Paul told us with the Colossians to bear with one another patiently and with charity. However, he adds that we must forgive and encourage each other not just with outward words but also “ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ – cantántes in córdibus vestris Deo…. singing in your hearts to God by His grace”.

There must be a core of interior joy, a singing in our hearts, in receiving rebukes, just or unjust, in correcting, or bearing wrongs, or forgiving and being patient, each according to our state in life and measure of authority. The Holy Family models holiness and holiness begins with listening to God’s will and, often in silence and with much pondering, abiding and heart singing before speaking.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    The greatest gift we can give to Christ is the glory He receives when we live lives of service to Him and the Gospel.

  2. Paul of St Paul says:

    Our priest spoke on being Christ’s light to others.
    Gave this example.
    In 1996 our priest was a new, young parish priest in Tasmania. The youngest priest in Australia to lead a Parish.
    Australia’s worst shooting crime happened right there in his parish, and 35 people were killed including some of his First Holy Communion children. He didn’t know how to deal with this and had a very difficult few weeks.
    Then his phone rang in the middle of the night a few weeks after it happened.
    A Scottish voice said
    ‘Is that the Parish priest at Porth Arthur?’
    ‘Well I am the Parish priest at Dunblane in Scotland.
    Maybe I could be a light for you right now.’

  3. JonPatrick says:

    EF mass for the feast of the Holy Family. Jesus spent 90% of this years on this earth growing up in a family, learning a trade as a carpenter from his foster father not in a palace but in a house in a small village. In this way the Incarnation encompasses every aspect of human life including life in an ordinary family in a small village. Often for us the path to holiness lie not in anything extraordinary but living our family life, practicing the virtues of forgiveness, forbearance, and patience. The family is the domestic Church. It should be where we first learn our faith and are evangelized.

  4. Imrahil says:

    I overslept the Feast of the Holy Family (but I had attended a Mass for it on the previous Sunday, at least) but did attended the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Yes there is such a thing on Sundays.

    Our preacher from the Order of Preachers preached on the Epistle, which was, apparently, 1 John 5, over the victory which is our Faith. One big “aha!” was his explanation of the somewhat cryptic (to me) line “He came through water and blood; and the Spirit and the water and the blood give witness to him, and they are one”. “Water” is the Baptism of the Lord where, notably, the Voice from Heaven confirms Christ (hence “witness”); “blood” of course is his crucifixion. (I think he did say something about the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist afterwards.) “And this is the victory over the world, our faith” – in which sense can faith be victorious? The Pope used to say that he has all powers in his hand, keeping the spiritual one for himself, giving the temporal one to the Emperor, and a remainder of this theory can still be seen in the feast of Christ the King. Nowadays we don’t focus on that so much any more [this was in my view not so really one of the good points; but I don’t complain, just need it to get to the other point, and do note that he did not actually say that interpretation was wrong], but we focus about how faith is victorious in our own hearts. How is faith victorious in our hearts, now? Our preacher quoted from a text by St. Thomas Aquinas, apparently titled “On the Usefulness of Faith”, where he says that faith is victorius in overcoming temptations. Temptations are of three kinds: 1st by the Devil, who entices us to rebel against God, whence the Apostle writes “the Devil is a roaring lion, etc.”, and faith is victorious over that in teaching that God really is supreme (or some such). 2nd by the World, who entices us by offering an apparent decision between happiness and unhappiness, whence the Apostle writes “and this is the victory over the world, our faith”, because faith lays before our eyes the life of eternal bliss, so offers us real and lasting happiness; and also because it threatens with Hell, i. e. real unhappiness. 3rd by the Flesh, that is by the natural man who wants momentous pleasure, and this, again, is fought down by Faith in reminding us of the punishment.

    As for the Mass for Epiphany, one of the point was that Christmas focuses more on our Lord’s humanity with the cute little child and all that, while Epiphany puts more focus on our Lord’s Divinity.

  5. frjim4321 says:

    Curious that only Matthew gives us the magi story, the point of which is the delivery of the good news to not only the “in-group” Jewish people, but the “out-group,” all the waiting world, while Matthew is principally addressed to a Jewish audience. It must have come as a jolt to them, since they most likely considered the Messiah their own proprietary savior. But Isaiah did prophesy that all nations would come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. Certainly the message of inclusivity is addressed to us today, as much as it was 2,000 or 2,500 years ago; but that contrast between the in-group and the out-group is not the only juxtaposition in the gospel; we also have the contrast of the star and the night; darkness and light; between the innocent guilelessness of the mysterious travelers and the murderous disinginuity of Herod; which represents the tension we see in our world between the Truth and the Lie; we – like the magi – are on a journey for meaning, for truth, as we too strive to be servants of the truth. As the Epiphany represents the presentation of, and access to, grace, for all the waiting world, we recognize and affirm the human dignity of all persons, regardless of their race, nationality or place of origin; we see human persons not as mere commodities. The gifts of the magi, often associated with attributes of Jesus, can also be seen as symbolizing attributes of every human person; attributes that we are called to recognize and affirm in our search for the Truth. Gold, suggesting the dignity of every human person, every human life; Frankincense, suggesting the spirituality and inner life of every human person as we are all sisters and brother journeying together in this search for meaning, this search for truth. Myrrh; providing us with a reminder that we all have an eternal destiny, and that our ultimate goal is life forever, outside of time and space, with the One who is the Author of All Truth. While it is indeed true that Matthew is the only one of the four gospel writers who provide us with the story of the magi, we all have the opportunity to manifests the gifts that we have been given so that we might recognize, honor and respect the eternal gifts that have been given to each person we meet.

  6. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Jesus was missing from His family in the Temple for THREE DAYS.

    Foreshadowing His Crucifixion and Resurrection…

Comments are closed.