Here is part of today’s Gospel, from St Matthew: ‘But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene”’.

Pope St John Paul II spoke these words: ‘Today we shift our gaze from the grotto of Bethlehem where the Saviour was born on Holy Night to the humble house of Nazareth, to contemplate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, whose feast we celebrate in the festive, family atmosphere of Christmas. The Redeemer of the world chose the family as the place for his birth and growth, thereby sanctifying this fundamental institution of every society. The time he spent in Nazareth, the greater part of his life, continues to be shrouded in deep silence. Very little information about it has been passed on to us by the Evangelists. However, if we aspire to a deeper understanding of Jesus’ life and mission, we must draw close to the mystery of the Holy Family of Nazareth to observe and listen. Today’s liturgy offers us a providential opportunity to do so. … Recollection and prayer, mutual understanding and respect, personal discipline and community asceticism and a spirit of sacrifice, work and solidarity are typical features that make the family of Nazareth a model for every home.

These strong words can be an inspiration for us all, whatever our walk of life. May the holy atmosphere of Nazareth touch us, and may the Holy Family pray for us all on this day. May God bless you.