Holy Family quite ‘normal’ LUKE 2:41–52
Very often, when we contemplate the Holy Family, immediately we focus on Mary, a young woman with baby Jesus in her arms and Joseph, a somewhat older man at their side.This image often gives us the impression that the Holy Family was perfect, unblemished and spotless. While this may be true, this Sunday’s Gospel explicitly indicates that they were quite “normal” in their behaviour.
Luke begins by mentioning that: “Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.” Hence, as ordinary citizens they participated in the religious activity. They were totally involved in life and did not live apart.
Further, Jesus, at age 12, was a normal and ordinary boy, since after the festival He remained behind in Jerusalem and was engaging the elders in a thought-provoking conversation, to such extent that they were utterly amazed with His wisdom and knowledge.
While His parents, Mary and Joseph provided Him with that liberty and freedom that children need for proper growth and development, they were very cautious and when they could not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him.
Like a typical young child Jesus was so involved in conversation, it was so engaging and exciting that He perhaps forgot to communicate properly with His parents.
This is a normal human phenomenon and we must not be too overwhelmed neither too cautious since we could impede and stifle the growth and development of our young children.
The issue is to strike a good balance: to allow them the necessary freedom and simultaneously be very cautious, especially in today´s world where so many ugly things are happening.
Luke tells us that it was after three days they found Him in the temple and one could just imagine that emotions were very strong. Mary, in her wisdom posed a question to Jesus: “My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.” Jesus, learned and full of wisdom was vocal:“Why were you looking for me” he replied. “Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?”
Again, this is a typical response. The issue is how we manage such interaction. Instead of being emotional, we should try to apply reason and dialogue as the parents of Jesus did. Hence, the results most of the times are positive.
Luke states that after the dialogue, Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. Further, Jesus grew in wisdom and age and favour before God and people.
Many times, we cannot fully comprehend the lifestyle and behaviour of our children. Very often the emotions get the better of us but we could try to follow the profound example of the Blessed Mother and ponder and cherish things in our hearts.
Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, we earnestly pray that the following prayer would take root in our hearts and help us to properly guide our children along the straight and narrow path. It is by St Francis.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
The Gospel Meditations for December were by Fr Gabriel Julien, a diocesan priest.