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December 31

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph

7th Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord


On the 7th Day of Christmas....
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, & Mercy.

First Reading
Sirach 3:2-7,12-14
Honor to one's parents will be rewarded.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 128:1-2,3,4-5
Happy are those who follow the Lord's ways.

Second Reading
Colossians 3:12-21 (or shorter form, Colossians 3:12-17)
Do all things in the name of Jesus and give thanks to God.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
In a dream, God tells Joseph to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. As we do so, our Gospel invites us to consider Joseph's protection of Jesus in the face of danger. Just as in the announcement of Jesus' birth, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. The angel warns him of Herod's plans to harm Jesus. Joseph follows the command of the angel and takes Joseph and Mary to Egypt, returning only after receiving word in another dream that it was safe to do so.

This feast is part of the Christmas season, so we should look at today's Gospel in the context of what Scripture tells us about Jesus' birth. Today's reading is found in the Gospel of Matthew, following the story of the visit of the Magi. Recall that Matthew's story about the birth of Jesus makes Joseph the primary character. Among Matthew's themes in this infancy narrative is Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the messiah. Indeed, the story of the Holy Family's flight to Egypt recalls the story of Moses in the Book of Exodus.

It should also be noted that today's reading omits the verses that recount Herod's order of the massacre of the infant boys in and around Bethlehem. We mark this event on the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28.

These events remind us of the difficult reality of Jesus' birth. While the story of the Magi's visit will be recalled in our liturgy on the Feast of the Epiphany, our Christmas celebration is made more sober by the recollection that not everyone received Christ's birth with joy or obedience. Herod's jealousy and malice contrast with Joseph's obedience to the words of the angel. The Holy Family's escape to Egypt and the massacre that Jesus is saved from remind us of the struggles and sacrifices that are required as preparation for God's salvation.





St. Joseph's Church, Joseph’s workshop, the house of the Holy Family, Nazareth, Israel




Matthew 2:1-23 In a dream, God tells Joseph to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod.



The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

Being Inclusive, Being Universal, Being Catholic

Who were the people of Jesus? Where did Jesus come from and why does this matter? How do their stories connect the Old and New Testaments? First, what are the differences between these two Testaments? The Old Testament (Torah): Are scriptures about God and the people of Israel. In these texts God makes various promises to Israel including “a coming king” who is called the Messiah and this Messiah would free Israel and lead the nations in Peace. The New Testament: follows the life of Jesus Christ.

Below are the family lines of Jesus broken down into three increments of 14. The first 14 names are of the Great Patriarchs, the second 14 names are the Kings, and the last 14 are mostly Unknown. This trinity of groups combined is an example that no matter who one is that their roll is very import and special in building the kingdom of God.

There are also the names of 5 women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, wife (Bathsheba) of Uriah, and Mary mother of Jesus. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba are examples of people who were at one point look down upon in society but then became heroes of the bible through their amazing contributions.



It’s all about Family

The Great Patriarchs

Matthew 1:2-16  1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah 3 Perez, Zerah by Tamar, Hezron. 4 Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon. 5Boaz by Rahab, Obed by Ruth, 6 Jesse fathered David the king.

The Kings

David fathered Solomon by her who had been the wife (Bathsheba) of Uriah. 7 Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa (Asaph), 8 Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, 9 Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, 10 Manasseh, Amon, Josiah. 11 Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.


The Mostly Unknowns

12 After the deportation to Babylon: Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abihud, Eliakim, Azor. 14 Zadok, Achim, Eliud. 15 Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob. 16 Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.


All Nations

Why does Matthew start the New Testament with the family lines of Jesus? It is actually a very beautiful and a very elegant way to tie the stories of the Torah or the Old Testament to the New Testament, which then points directly to Jesus as the Messiah. This is important for many reasons, one being that Jesus came to fulfill the promises of the Torah through the New Testament which is the record of the life of Jesus. Jesus came to transform the hearts of his people so that they may love thy neighbors including their enemies. The stories of Jesus show that he is from Royal Jewish lines, but he is also from lines that are not royal or Jewish. In fact, some of Jesus’ grandmothers had questionable back grounds or reputations such as: Rahab was a “working woman” from a brothel (Joshua 2:1), his grandmother Ruth was a Moabite or an outsider, and Bathsheba, wife of King David, who had a troubling story. Why would Jesus have these people in his family tree, why show imperfections, because these stories are relatable to all people. Jesus was being inclusive. Jesus also told his apostles to be inclusive with his ministries. Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”




Major Holy Site for 3 Religions

Abraham who had Isaac also had a son named Ismael. Isaac would be the leader, or one of the great patriarchs, of the Israelites and Ismael would be a leader of the Arabs. The brothers separated: Isaac would follow Judaism were as Ismael is regarded as a prophet of Islam and an ancestor to Muhammad. (Genesis chapters: 16, 17, and 21).


Location, Location, Location!


Jesus’ Birth: Jesus was in the little town of Bethlehem, it is a Palestinian town, south of Jerusalem, on the West Bank.

Jesus’ Death: In the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel, holds so many amazing religious sites for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Here one can walk the path of the Via Dolorosa, the Stations of the Cross to the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. For Christians: one will find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which holds the tomb of Jesus’ and part of his cross. For Jews: near this area is the sacred site of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall: The Torah and Bible both teach that Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of faith, Abraham compiled but God stopped Abraham and saved Isaac. For Muslims: On the site of the Temple Mount is the Dome of the Rock, and for Muslims, the Dome of the Rock has been a holy place for over 1,300 years. All of these locations for Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all within a 10-minute walk of each. Interesting note: in Arabic, Jerusalem is most commonly known as al-Quds and means "The Holy" or "The Holy Sanctuary". 





It’s New Year’s Eve!!! At the end of every amazing year one shares it with family and loved ones. There are so many different traditions for this time of year such as kiss me at midnight, eat 12 grapes (1 grape for every month of the year) for good luck, and bang pans to cheer in the new year, and here are some of fun traditions that comes from the Philippines:

  1. Media Noche: is the most valued Filipino New Year tradition because it is the time where family members are together, symbolizing how much they value family time. While together the families exchange gifts, share stories, and enjoy specially prepared food together while waiting for the countdown to welcome the new year. 

  2. Wearing polka dots: This New Year tradition is believed to bring prosperity and wealth because of the polka dots represent coins.

  3. Eating round fruit: If you want to experience luck the whole year, you must prepare 12 round fruits before the new year. The number of the fruits represents each month of the year, the shape is believed to bring wealth and prosperity.

  4. Sticky foods like rice cakes help welcome in the new year. It is believed that eating sticky rice will help strengthen and improve the relations and bond of the family. This is one of the oldest new year food in the Philippines.





Italian New Year Tradition: Cotechino With Lentils!

Want to usher in the new year like they do in Italy? Cotechino with lentils is the traditional dish to serve in Italy. Hailing from the Modena region, this sausage is made of pork. It's served on a bed of lentils, sliced up so that it resembles coins thus ensuring the eater a year of prosperity. Cotechino comes from the word cotica which means pork rind. The Cotechino simmers for hours so that the pork skin becomes meltingly good.


Cotechino With Lentils
Serves 3-4


  • 1 cotechino sausage (pork sausage)

  • 2 cups lentils, soaked in water overnight

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4 cups stock

  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley



  1. Soak the lentils overnight in a bowl filled with water.

  2. Cook the cotechino by placing it in a pot of water to boil, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2.5 hours or until it floats to the top.

  3. Leave it to cool. Place the stock in the fridge to separate the fat.

  4. Save the simmering liquid for making the lentils.

  5. Heat a large pot and heat some oil or fat from the cotechino and sauté the onion, carrot and garlic until soft. Add the lentils, bay leaves and stock and place the lid on and bring to a boil and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook off the stock for 20 minutes. Season to taste. Remove the bay leaves.

  6. Heat a frypan and slice the cotechino. Add a little oil and pan fry the slices so that they are slightly crisp. Ladle the lentils and serve the sliced cotechino on top.


Songs of the season:

Deck The Halls


Lou Monte- Domenick the Donkey

Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt 
What Are You Doing New Years Eve?


New Year's Eve Drops Around the USA

Pensacola, FL

Atlanta, GA

Mobile, AL

Lancaster, PA

Duncannon, PA

Pottsville, PA

Pirates walk in Beaufort, NC

York, PA

Nashville, TN

Dillsburg, PA

Beavertown, PA

Tallapoosa, GA

Kennett Square, PA

Bethlehem, PA

Shenandoah, PA

Coney Island, NY

Sarasota, FL

Havre de Grace, Maryland 

New Orleans, LA

Easton, MD

Flagstaff, AZ

Prairie du Chien, WI

Plymouth, WI

Fayetteville, Arkansas


Key West, FL

Raleigh, NC

Orange County, CA

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