Holy Family Sunday
Sir 3:3-7,14-17 II:
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom;
43 and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,
44 but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances;
45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;
47 and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously."
49 And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.
51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
- Nazareth is about 85 miles from Jerusalem.
- Only St. Luke reports this event. It is the fifth joyful mystery of the Rosary.
- St. Luke reports only two journeys that Jesus made to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This event is the first, and the other immediately precedes his Passion. He was "lost" for three days in both events. The first marks the beginning of Jesus' adulthood as well as his mission. The last one marks the end of his mission as he rose victoriously after three days.
- In Jewish society at the time of Jesus, boys and girls were at first primarily brought up by the women of the family. At the age of puberty, the boys made a transition and were reared primarily by their fathers or the men in the family.
- When a boy reaches the age of twelve, the law of Moses requires that he journeys to Jerusalem for the Passover where, for the first time, he would be allowed to read the Words of God in the temple. This marks the beginning of his adulthood, and his care is transferred to the men in the family. It is a harsh transition for boys.
- For such trips as the journey during the feast of Passover, the Jews traveled in large groups separate according to genders. Men and boys older than twelve travel together, while the women and smaller children travel in a separate group.
- Mary must be joyful not finding the young Jesus with her thinking that he successfully made the transition to adulthood, electing to be with Joseph and all other boys. Joseph, on the other hand, felt disappointed to discover that Jesus was absent among the men. Joseph probably believed that the young Jesus still felt attached to his mother Mary. The young Jesus on the other hand made a spiritual transition into the care of God the Father.
One Main Point
One must, at some point in life, mature spiritually into the providence of God the Father and discover his own unique relation with God.
- Mary and Joseph nurtured the young Jesus spiritually so that he could reach the conclusion: "Did you know that I have to be in my Father's house?" Reflect on your one journey of faith. Who has nurtured you spiritually, and how? How and when did you discover your unique place in God's heart?
- A family is the primary place to nurture spirituality. Read Luke (2:21-40) and contemplate the care that Mary and Joseph had for Jesus during his childhood. Contemplate your own spiritual responsibility in your family: the obstacles, the doubt, and the mission in bringing up your own children so that they will be able to grow into the wisdom and love of God.
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community