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Passover and Holy Family


The travel of the Holy Family from Nazareth to Jerusalem was 150 km approximately. However, Joseph and Mary endured the hardship involved in attending Temple services every year for the Passover observance in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Hillel (110 BC–10 AD) recommended that women also attend the Passover in Jerusalem. Though women were not obliged, devoted women went to Jerusalem for that feast. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, is an example. “Year after year, she went up to the house of the LORD” (1 Sam 1:7). Mary, being a devout Jew, went with Joseph every year and they brought Jesus along for this week-long celebration. They took offerings with them according to the direction of God – “They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed, but each with his own gift, in proportion to the blessing which the LORD, your God, has given to you” (Deut 16:16-17).

Joseph and Mary’s participation in the Passover every year at Jerusalem shows how the Holy Family strictly adhered to the Law and fostered their devotion to God. It was apparent that they wanted Jesus to be familiar with the Temple and its practices from an early age. We also need to do the same with our children.

The customary practice was that the Feast of Passover had to take place in Jerusalem because the observant had to sacrifice a lamb at the Temple. The priests collected the blood of the animal and poured it on the altar and the pilgrims took the remaining portion for the Passover meal to their homes or camps in Jerusalem. Hence, the Holy Family celebrated the feast at Jerusalem travelling a long distance.


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