This Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Family but it is “also every family’s feast day, since the Holy Family is the patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life.”[1]

The Gospel[2] has the familiar account of the escape of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. “Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.[3]

St. Joseph was once again protecting the Blessed Virgin and the Son of God. What a tremendous privilege this was for the humble carpenter. Pope Leo XIII puts it this way: (St. Joseph) “shines among all mankind by the most august dignity, since by divine will, he was the guardian of the Son of God and reputed as His father among men.” [4]

Joseph was a listener, as was the Blessed Virgin and we too are called to listen to the will of God our Father. Listening, of course, necessitates silence.

Pope Paul VI expressed this in a talk given at Nazareth. Oh! If only esteem for silence, a wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere, could be reborn within us! Whereas we are deafened by the din, the noise and discordant voices in the frenetic, turbulent life of our time. O silence of Nazareth! Teach us to be steadfast in good thoughts, attentive to our inner life, ready to hear God’s hidden inspiration clearly and the exhortations of true teachers.”[5]

We too can count on St. Joseph. We too can count on the Blessed Virgin and of course more importantly, we too can count on the Son of God. But let the silence within our hearts be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that we may live in an atmosphere of discipline and silence, albeit reflecting in a small way the family of Nazareth.

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP


[2] Mt.2:13-15, 19-23

[3] Mt.2: 13

[4] Encyclical Quamquam Pluries [1889] n. 3

[5] Pope Paul VI Discourse in Nazareth, 5 January 1964