Devotion to the Holy Family has a reasonably long history in Catholicism. It first appeared significantly in 17th-century France and was brought to the New World by Jesuit missionaries and French settlers and governors. In those early years, one would find two typical depictions of the Holy Family: one featuring St. Anne, Mary and the child Jesus, the other picturing Joseph, Mary and Jesus. The devotion received official status in 1921 when, under Pope Benedict XV, the feast was inserted into the general calendar of the Roman rite.
Christmas reflection: The earthshaking prologue hymn to Christmas Day's Gospel of John is the perfect capstone to the Advent scriptures.
Each Gospel is unique. Each evangelist not only structures his work in a special way, he also treats his main characters differently than the other three, giving them traits or personality dimensions on which his original readers were expected to reflect. Luke’s treatment of Mary of Nazareth is classic.
Advent reflection: Because the Fourth Sunday of Advent is so close to Christmas Eve, it's hard to maintain a sense of waiting.
The late scripture scholar Sulpician Fr. Raymond Brown frequently raised eyebrows when he said, “There are no predictions of Jesus, as we know him, anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.”
Advent reflection: There's only one Sunday left until Christmas, and this week, the liturgy takes on an eager sense of anticipation.
If you have ever watched a Hollywood awards program, you are probably familiar with the fascination many have for the fashions worn by the stars. As each takes a turn in the spotlight on the red carpet, the question inevitably arises: “Who are you wearing?”
Advent: The story of Advent is a message of God's life with us in history, future hope, and the here and now.
With the season of Advent, a new liturgical year begins, and the praying assembly is called to look back with gratitude on all that has been and forward with hope to what will be. In looking back, we are to ponder what J.B. Phillips has called “the towering miracle of God’s visit to this planet” (“The Christian Year,” Good News: Thoughts on God and Man, Macmillan, 1963).
Advent: Composer Marty Haugen reflects on the first Sunday of Advent and how music can shape this prayerful time in our lives.