Goffine’s Devout Instructions – First Sunday after Epiphany

illustration of Jesus Teaching in the Temple from Goffine's Devout InstructionsAt the Introit of the Mass the Church animates us to adore and obey God willingly and joyfully. “Upon a high throne I saw a man sitting, Whom a multitude of angels adored, singing together, Behold Him, the name of Whose empire is eternity.” (Daniel 7) “Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.” (Psalm 99:2) Glory be to the Father, etc.


Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in Your heavenly mercy, the prayers of Your suppliant people, that they may both see what they ought to do, and may be enabled to do what they see. Through Our Lord, etc.

Epistle – Romans 12:1-5

Brethren: I beseech you, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be reformed in the newness of your mind: that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behooves to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How can we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God?

By keeping the body and its members clean from all sin, serving God with soul and body. Thus to serve God, with our soul and body, is our reasonable service, and the vocation of every Christian.

What does Saint Paul mean by the comparison of “one body and many members”?

He means that we Christians belong all to one body, the Church, the head of which is Christ. Now, as all the members of the body work for its welfare, so should every Christian minister to the wants of all in the Church. One should join the other in the work of salvation; should instruct or punish, warn, admonish, or correct, as there is occasion for it. This is true love, such as we ought to have, one for another, and happy are we when we thus love in word and deed.


Grant, O Jesus, that I may present my soul and body a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing, to Thee, by mortification, humiliation, and contrition, and that I may never defile them by impurity, gluttony, lust, vanity, or pride; give me also Thy grace, O my Saviour, to love my neighbor as myself, for we are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another.

Gospel – Luke 2:42-52

When Jesus was twelve years old they going up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? behold Your father and I have sought You sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.

What are we Christians to learn by this?

That we should never miss an opportunity to go to church, particularly on Sundays and holy-days, and there assist at the public services, with inward and outward devotion. Parents should learn from Joseph and Mary to take their children to church and school, and to teach them their prayers and the other exercises of religion.

What lesson does the infant Jesus teach us?

That we also should attend religious instructions, the sermon, and catechism, to learn what is necessary in regard to our salvation.

What do we learn by those words, “Jesus was subject to them”?

That children should obey their parents. When the God-Man was thus subject to His poor Mother and to His foster-father, who was a plain mechanic, those children should blush who are ashamed of their parents, or refuse to assist them in their old age, poverty, or distress.

– Goffine’s Devout Instructions