Sir 3:3-7, 14-17           It is important that we always retain a respect for our parents. This does not mean that they should run our lives in terms of telling us what we should or should not do once we have reached adulthood. Ultimately every one of us has to learn to take responsibility for our lives and to make our own decisions. Respecting our parents simply means remembering all that we owe them and doing our best to care for them if they should need it.

Jesus, you respected the authority of your earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, while you were a child. However, it was your decision to enter into the ministry that was the will of your father in Heaven. Help me to choose the right time and way to assert my independence.

Col 3:12-21     If our relationships are clothed in love then they will not go too far wrong. Paul tells the Colossians that they should do their best to ensure that this is the case with them. It is when love grows tired or thin that disagreements and troubles begin to arise in our relationships. Let us pray for the grace to keep our love strong so that this will not happen.

Holy Spirit, inspire me by the example of your commitment to love to keep my love strong for those around me. Help me to be able to reconcile any difficulties that arise in my family so that I can be a good witness to the love you have shown me.

Mt 2:13-15, 19-23       Joseph’s first concern is the welfare of his family. On hearing of the bloodshed being caused by Herod he hastily leaves Israel and goes to Egypt at the beckoning of an angel in a dream. Afterwards he returns to a place called Nazareth, which is a long way from the main centres of life in Palestine and thus further ensures the protection of his family. Who would bother to look for a future king in such an out of the way place as Nazareth?

Father, you spoke to Joseph in dreams to guide him in his mission on earth. Speak to me as well so that I may know and do your will. Help me to discover your will by whatever means is necessary.