The Holy Family: Protector of the Poor

V. Glory be to God Alone in Jesus Christ.

R. Through Mary and
St. Joseph.



Now at that time Caesar Augustus issued a decree ordering a census of the whole word to be taken.  This census was done for the first time by Quirinius who was commander in
Syria.  And everyone went to be registered, each one in the town he originally came from.  Since Joseph belonged to the House of the family of David, he went from Galilee to Judea, from the town of Nazareth to the town of
Bethlehem, to be registered together with Mary his wife who was pregnant.  While they were there, her time came and she gave birth to a son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.  There were shepherds in the area keeping watch and taking turns during the night to guard their flocks.  Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to them, a great light shone around them and they were very afraid.  But the angel said to them: “Do not be afraid because I come to bring you tidings of great joy.  Today, a saviour has been born to you in the town of
David.  He is the Christ of the Lord and this is how you will know him.  You will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger”.  As soon as the angels left, the shepherds went in haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child who was lying in the manger…the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard.  (Luke, 2:1-21).


We come before the crib and kneel in awe and reverence before the Christ child. We contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation – the mystery of the Eternal Word of God who came among us as a helpless infant.  He fully embraced our humanity with all that this entails –experiencing the joys and sufferings of life and submitting to the authority of his parents and to the laws of the country into which he was born. 

We recall how John introduced Jesus in the prologue to his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God…the Word was made flesh and lived among us” (John 1:1; 14).  This reminds us that in a wonderful and mysterious way, Jesus, in Trinitarian union with the Creator and the Spirit, was present at the first great flaring forth of creation.  But he did not cling to his equality with God. Instead he gave up everything and became like one of us. (Phil. 2:6-7).

He humbly lived among us in an ordinary human family, a family which, to use our Founder’s words, was “the earthly image of the Trinity”.  At the foot of the cross this family opened out to welcome the beloved disciple John; as the Church in embryo it extended into the community of the apostles and first disciples and proclaimed to the world that we are invited to become the family of God.  This family includes everyone - kings and lowly born, rich and poor, young and old, male and female.  No one is excluded; all are welcomed as sons and daughters of God and brothers and sisters of one another. 

Here at the crib we see the universal nature of this family – Mary and Joseph with the child, humble shepherds from nearby fields, kings from far off lands, animals, stars and heavenly beings singing in praise and thanksgiving for the gift of God’s love to the world in the person of Jesus.

This is the good news that Jesus came to bring us – that we are all family, that we are children of a God who celebrates and affirms all that is human, who values connectedness and relationships, who desires communion and intimacy with us, who reaches out in love towards all people offering salvation to all, revealing the Good News of reconciliation, love and peace for all.

Jesus, as the “image of the unseen God” reveals the face of God to us.  He shows us that God is always on the side of the poor and the marginalized, is always listening to and responding to their cries.  Jesus came to fulfil God’s dream for humanity: that the good news be preached to the poor, captives be set free, sight restored to the blind and that all live in harmony and peace.

In his life, Jesus identified closely with the poor; he chose a stable as birthplace and he welcomed the company of animals and poor shepherds.  During his life he lived among the poor, he lived like them, he taught them, healed them, served them, loved them and died for them.

Now Jesus calls us to live as he did, to be compassionate and loving in our relationships, to welcome all who are excluded by society, to spread the good news of salvation and to lovingly serve our brothers and sisters without distinction. May we commit ourselves fully and with generosity to this mission of love.

Questions for reflection: 

  • Who are the poor, the excluded in my family, community, parish, neighbourhood, and country?
  • How open am I to welcome all, including those who suffer discrimination and exclusion?
  • How committed am I to Jesus’ mission “to preach the Good News to the poor”?  How challenged am I by the words of Jesus:  “Whatever you did for one of these little ones, you did it for me”? (Matt 25:40).
  • What specifically is the Lord calling me to do - in my family, community, and locality - to be in solidarity with the poor?


We thank you Lord for your coming among us.  We ask you Jesus, through the intercession of Mary and St. Joseph to bring to birth in us justice, peace compassion and concern for all God’s little ones, for the homeless, refugees, the destitute, the hungry and all those who are suffering indifference and oppression.

Bring to birth in us a deep respect for our planet and a burning desire to work for the preservation of all life forms.  Free us from greed and all that prevents us from sharing the resources of our planet with all our brothers and sisters especially with those who are disadvantaged and poor.

Free us from the destructive hold of consumerism; enable us to embrace a simple lifestyle so that we can share joyfully and freely with those who are in need.  Amen.

Spontaneous prayers

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who are poor and in need.

Our Father…

Hail Mary…

V. Holy Family may you be glorified in all hearts

R. And reign forever in all ages. Amen