Jesus Advanced In Graciousness, Charm & Wisdom
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We were considering on Christmas why God is often silent and passive. Why doesn’t he speak and act more? Hopefully, we saw that the only thing that can bring us happiness is that he quietly be born in us these days. He would not force this to happen. He acts silently and unobtrusively. He always respects our freedom.
On this feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph we have one more opportunity for Christ to be born in us. Luke is very unassuming and reserved in his description of what happened on that day (2: 41-52) when Jesus was an adolescent and the family obeyed the Law and went to Jerusalem for the Passover, probably with all their kinfolk and neighbors. Jesus acts as a normal child would act. In the apocryphal gospels there is a multiplicity of extravagant miracles. If he cuts the board too short then he only has to pull on it to make it the right length, and many other unusual occurrences. Luke has none of this. The Holy Family fulfills the law and goes to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem, a good three or four day journey from Nazareth.
Jesus does not act as a braggadocio in front of his elders. He participates in the questions and answers and he does not oppose anything that the Law stipulates. He somehow got separated from his parents and in response to their anxious request he said: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” The phrasing of his response implies a close personal relationship between him and the Father. Jesus affirms in the presence of Joseph that God is his Father and this relationship surpasses all human ties. This is true for all of us. God comes even before your children and only by living in this way do you truly serve your kids.
It is the first time that Jesus shows his consciousness of being the Son of the Father. There are certain things that the Son must do: his must do Father’s business, he must preach and he must go to the cross. Mary and Joseph don’t understand but one day they will.
This is the last time we see Joseph in the gospels. The more secure a person is the easier it is for him/her to submit to another. The greater is not normally subject to the lesser. Joseph knows this and he knows that the lesser person (himself) has been put in charge of the greater (Christ). It is a great tribute to him that he serves in this way, and that Jesus is obedient to him.
We may leave Mass thinking that Christ is with us and the reality is often different. When we feel out of touch with him what should we do? Go back to the last time you saw Christ, and do what you did then.
Jesus advances “in wisdom and age and grace before God and man.” He does so because of the example of his parents. He saw how they worked, maintained a home, prayed, kept holy the Sabbath, asked for forgiveness from one another… All of these events in the life of Jesus helped him to develop as a man. The holy family is a great example for us. Let us meditate on Jesus, Mary and Joseph often to see what God is truly saying to us.