top of page

IHS The Feast of the Holy Family 12 January A.D. 2020 Ave Maria!

Support our Building Fund

Today is the feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Gospel finds them making the annual pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem to observe the feast of Passover. Jews who lived within Israel were required to make this pilgrimage three times each year, for Passover, Pentecost, and Sukkot—Sukkot being the harvest feast in late September or October. Attendance at these festivals is another example of the Holy Family's obedience to the Law of Moses. The journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem extends about seventy miles—a lot of which was through the hills. There were no Interstate Highways in those days, but even on a paved highway, seventy miles has to take a few days. Even if they owned a donkey or two, they probably didn't ride it, as these were generally pack animals. If you are ever tempted to complain about how far you have drive to get to Holy Mass, just think about the journey of the Holy Family!

This feast day is relatively new, being instituted as late as 1892 by the saintly Pope Leo XIII. Leo lived at the tail end of the first industrial revolution—a period of time in which steam power revolutionized the production and transportation of goods. Mankind became much more productive, but at the cost of the disruption of the rural life that bound families closely together—the life where every member shared in the agricultural production, the making of cloth, and the production of hard goods in little private shops. Taking a job in the newly industrialized cities often required separation of family members. Even if they lived together, they often worked apart and had to keep different schedules. Small dwellings made life tense, and were conducive to immoral practices of birth limitation.

In his Apostolic Letter, Néminem fugit, Leo urged us to model our families after the Holy Family, and to model ourselves after the appropriate person in that Family—children after the young Jesus, husband's after Joseph, and wives after Mary. The Holy Family should be a reassurance for those of little wealth, and also a model for those in high social condition to respect those of lower degree.[1]

Leo wrote his Apostolic Letter about 130 years ago, and family life has suffered greatly over those years. In Leo's time, people tried to keep their extended families together, even if they lived in a city. (Even when I was a boy, several branches of my father's family lived in the same apartment house in New York City—there were even a few families that were not relatives but came from the same town in Italy. There was always a relative or two to help out when necessary—someone could always stay with the sick children or make sure that the well children all got to school. There was always a cozy feeling of strength in numbers.). But in today's world, it isn't uncommon for adult family members to live thousands of miles apart—telephones and jet travel do not make up for that separation.

Our society has lost its moral compass. Politicians brag of their ability to buy favors with public funds. They buy power and influence by taxing the “haves” to give “free stuff” to the “have nots.” Their socialist delusion extends far beyond human necessities to a right to free art, free entertainment, free medical care, and free education. They fail to recognize any of these things for the theft that they are! Theft and a coveting of your neighbors’ goods.

Marital morality has sunk to new lows. People are ostracized not only for condemning immorality, but increasingly for not practicing immorality! Numbers of people claim not to know whether they are men or women or something in between—and feel that they have a right to have others support their delusion—people actually get fired from their jobs and lose lawsuits because they “used the wrong pronouns”! ! !

Drug overdoses and suicide are catching up with cancer as leading causes of death.[2] In spite of advancements in treating things like heart disease and cancer, the average American lifespan has been shrinking during the past few years!

In Pope Leo’s time no one could have predicted that all of these societal ills would find their way into the Church! But the Modernism condemned by Pope Pius X has made significant inroads. Hopefully, the Modernists are still in the minority, but they are strong enough to do great damage. There are cocaine fueled orgies in Vatican owned apartments.[3] Millions (maybe even billions) of dollars have been paid to abuse victims.[4] Socialism was condemned by the very same Pope Leo XIII—“socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected….” He said—but today it is preached from the pulpit as though it was s divine ordinance.[5] Classroom sex education, forbidden by at least two popes, has become a “must have,” even in “Catholic” schools.[6] Capital criminals must now be tolerated, changes in the weather must now be acknowledged as personal sins, as must the use of disposable plastic drinking straws. No doubt, with a lot of time to spare, this could have been a more impressive list.

There are, of course, pockets of resistance. A number of groups like our own have formed to preserve the traditional Mass and Catholic teaching. Worldwide, the Mass and Catholic tradition seem to be enjoying a resurgence. Yet, not all the participants are in close agreement with each other as to what must be done, and how to do it.

I would suggest that the Holy Family represents the one unifying principle that all true Catholics can agree upon. Our churches must resemble that holy house in Nazareth. Our men and our women must be like Joseph and Mary in our concern for the Son of God. We must become more dedicated to Him in our prayer life. The Rosary is an ideal vehicle, for in just fifteen decades, we can join our Lord in the major events of His existence on Earth. Pray the Rosary every day!

I would also encourage greater devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. One cannot get any closer to Jesus than he gets in the Holy Sacrament of the altar. Come to Mass as often as you can!

As Pope Leo tells us:

<< No one can doubt that in this Holy Family was displayed every virtue which can be called forth by an ordinary home life, with its mutual services of charity, its holy intercourse, and its practices of godly piety, since the Holy Family was destined to be a pattern to all others. For that very reason was it established by the merciful designs of Providence, namely, that every Christian, in every walk of life and in every place, might easily, if he would but give heed to it, have before him a motive and a pattern for the good life. >>


[1] Second Nocturn of the Feast




[5] see also


bottom of page