Sunday 28 December 2014

The Holy Family

  The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities” by Bartolom√© Esteban Murillo.
"Murillo, The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities, about 1675-1682 Photo © The National Gallery, London”.

Today id the feast of the Holy Family. The painting above is called the Heavenly and Earthly Trinities; and it has been painted in the sign of the Cross.

Looking vertically from the top downwards we see God, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and Jesus looking up to His Father in Heaven. That is the Heavenly Trinity.

Looking horizontaly from left to right we see the Virgin Mary, Jesus and His earthly father Joseph. The Earthly Trinity.

Four things of importance to note in this painting by Murillo. God in Heaven is looking down and blessing the Holy Family. Jesus responds to His Father by looking up to Heaven. Mary is looking at Jesus and perhaps thinking about the Son of God saving the world; whilst Joseph is looking at us, significant this, inviting us to join in the Holy Family.That is because we are part of the Holy Family through our own Faith and trust in the Lord.

Not much is known about Jesus’ childhood. The Bible records the story of His birth in Bethlehem, His presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem a few days later, and then the Holy Family went to live in Nazareth. Their home town. We don't know much more about Jesus' early days of His life; apart from when His parents found Him teaching in the Temple at the age of twelve or so.

We are left to wonder what He was like as a baby. Crawling on the ground and then taking His first hesitant steps. I wonder what His first words were when He spoke.

One thing for sure though. He was much loved by His earthly parents, who devoted themselves to His up-bringing, until He was ready to start His work on earth as His Father willed.

Like most parents, they must have wished many good things for Him as He grew up, even though they knew who He really was and what His mission in this world was to be.

Mary, however, carried an additional burden in her heart. She knew from those early days what was to happen. Simeon in the temple had told her: “… sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart”. Luke 2:35. Joseph was there to witness it all.

Can you imagine what they went through as parents? Knowing of the torture and Crucifixion which Christ would suffer.

And Mary, endured that pain even more as she followed her Son on the way to Calvary.

Yet … despite all that. Despite knowing well ahead what was to happen, despite witnessing the Crucifixion for herself, one thing must have sustained Mary and encouraged her throughout her ordeal: the sure knowledge that Jesus was/is the Son of God and that He will rise again from the dead.

That thought alone should help us when we too go through difficult times. No matter how difficult our situation we should hold on to the fact that our Lord, the one we profess to love and follow, is the Son of God. By His death and Resurrection He has conquered evil once and for all.

And no matter what our situation may be, we can assuredly turn to Mary, and seek her help in bearing the difficulties we go through.


  1. HUMM--Victor--I am thinking "Conquered evil once and for all" Is that another way of saying He paid the price for our sin? By his blood atonement, we are promised eternity with HIm? I believe God is allowing evil to roam this earth until the Second Coming of Jesus--but He has paid the price for the sin we will fall into when tempted by evil. Yes He is the victor over evil in Revelations--but until then we have the free will to choose the path we take--good or evil.

  2. Hi Lulu,

    Yes, Jesus has conquered evil (the devil) once and for all. The devil is still allowed to roam the world tempting souls away from God. But he does so under strict control of God; within well defined parameters. God allows the devil to roam because if it were not so; there would be no evil, and thus there would be no free choice for man to choose. God in His infinite love for man has allowed man a free choice to love God back or not. Thus to have free choice we must have evil and temptations to do evil. But as I said, within strict controls and permission by God.

    God bless.

  3. Amen!

    Well said in so many words that "JESUS is the true Victor.


    1. Best wishes to you and your family this Christmas and always.

      God bless.

  4. Replies
    1. Many thanx Melanie. Best wishes to you and yours.

      Gdo bless.

  5. I, too, wonder what our Savior's first words were. What a fun thing to think about. I also wonder when He said something that made Mary and Joseph say "there it is ... that was God-like and not Child-like."

    God Bless you.

    1. My thoughts exactly, Michael. What did He first say, and what was the occasion to say it? What kind of toys did they have at the time, and what books. Who taught Him to write and read? Was Jesus all-knowing from birth - i.e. knew who He was and what His Mission wast, as well as everything else we know today like science, physics and so on? Or did He learn gradually?

      Too many questions to end the year with.

      God bless you, Michael.

  6. I always wonder about these things too, Victor. He must have learned gradually like the rest of us but I'd love to know what He was like as a child.

    I wish you and yours a blessed 2015!!

    1. It's so nice to see you visiting me again, Mary. Thank you.

      I wish you and your family a Blessed Peaceful and Joyful New Year.

      God bless.



God bless you.