Feast of the Holy Family – Liturgical Year Lesson

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Lesson Overview

This week we continue the in the Octave of Christmas with the Feast of the Holy Family.
The Gospel reading for this feast is the story of the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. By
examining this Gospel passage more closely we can learn from the Holy Family what God is
calling us to live in our own families.

Lesson Materials


  1. Have students bring a picture of their family with them to class.
  2. Have Students begin by doing the activity: Family Biography.
  3. Have students read the Gospel for the week and complete the comprehension and critical thinking questions.
  4. Discuss answers as a class.

Answer Key

Comprehension and Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Joseph and Mary take the infant Jesus to the temple, offer sacrifice, and present Him to God. While they are there they meet Simeon and Anna who both prophecy about Christ, his mission, and how He will bring about the redemption of mankind. Then they return to Galilee where the young Jesus grows up wise and strong.
  2. They offer a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. This was the traditional and acceptable sacrifice of the poor. The typical sacrifice was supposed to be a lamb or some larger animal. It shows the Holy Family鈥檚 poverty and simplicity.
  3. They did these things out of obedience to the law. Jesus was the new law, however in order to bring the new law to fulfillment they need to be examples to others and be obedient to the current law.
  4. Simeon prophesied that Jesus would bring Salvation. He said that Jesus would be the rise and fall of many, that He would be a contradiction, and that a sword would also pierce Mary鈥檚 heart. Anna spoke to the people present in the Temple about how the Child would bring Salvation.
  5. They are 鈥渁mazed鈥 at what was said; they listen and then returned home and continued in the mission entrusted to them of raising Jesus. They trust in God鈥檚 plan for them in that mission.
  6. The passage is very clearly about the Holy Family as all three of them are present in this passage. It also shows them doing something seemingly ordinary during which they encounter a trial or struggle. Most families experience life this way: by doing ordinary things and dealing with struggle and hardship in the midst of them. Accept additional reasoned answers.
  7. God could have become man by appearing on earth fully grown. But instead, He came to be with us as a baby. He was raised through childhood as part of a Holy Family. Families are meant to be made up of a mother, a father, and their children. Families are called to be obedient to God and the law. Families are called to worship together. Families are meant to surrender and trust in God. Families are called to work through struggles and difficulties together. Parents are called to raise and educate their children in the virtues. This passage points to all these things. Accept additional reasoned answers.
  8. Christmas is the celebration of God coming to us in the person of Jesus. Jesus, both fully human and fully divine, was born into a Family. That Family plays a significant role in giving us the feast of Christmas. It is fitting to celebrate His family during the Christmas season. Christmas is also a time for us to gather and celebrate with our own families so it is makes sense that we reflect on the true meaning of what family is and look to the Holy Family as model during this time. Accept additional reasoned answers.

Family Biography

Accept reasoned answers.

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