The Gospel story of the healing of the paralytic teaches us the importance of interceding for others. Just as the friends of the paralytic brought him to Jesus so that he might be healed, so we bring our petitions and the needs of others to the Lord. This weekend we pray especially for the respect of all life -- from natural conception to a natural death. We will march, we will pray, and we will speak out. Today's Gospel reminds us, however, that before we do any of that we must ask God to hear our prayers. May God's will be done, and may Life, in all of its beautiful stages, be protected, defended, and celebrated.
We all know the story of the visit of the Magi, and it has many levels of meaning for us as Christians today. Isaiah's prophecy (which we hear in the first reading) reminds us to raise our eyes, for our redemption is at hand. The prophet speaks of the restoration of Jerusalem, and the promise that all nations shall stream toward it with their wealth and faith. This prophecy, perhaps directed at the time to the return from the Babylonian Exile, is yet to be fulfilled completely. We still await the day when all nations will seek and find the light of faith; when peace will truly reign in our hearts and in our world.
The last verse of today's Gospel gives us practically all the information we need on the early life of Jesus:
"[T]hey returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him" (Lk 2:39-40).
It is fitting that the Feast of the Holy Family be situated in the season of Christmas, for it underscores and reinforces our belief in the mystery of the Incarnation. As well it teaches us about the dignity of every family, including ours.