Christmas Feasts 3: The Obedience of Christ
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Dec. 30
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
From the Gospel for Dec. 30, 2018, Feast of the Holy Family (Luke 2:41-52)
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor
before God and man.
In today’s Gospel we see the Holy Family living out their lives of holiness through obedience. They do this through obedience to God and through obedience to those to whom they have been entrusted.
As a family they lived together obedient to the law and traditions of worship, which included a yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. This trip always meant they would return in a large caravan of extended family. As such, on their return trip Mary and Joseph had every reason to expect Jesus would be in His family’s midst. But when they had stopped for the night, Jesus was not with them for He had “remained behind in Jerusalem.”
After three days, they found Him at the temple; they were both relieved as well as confounded at what they discovered. “Son, why have you done this to us?” How can His disappearance be reconciled with the life of obedience Jesus lived in union with them up to that point? Mary and Joseph realize Jesus is acting in obedience to His Heavenly Father in addition to His earthly parents.
Jesus had been entrusted to them as their child, and as such Jesus then returns to Nazareth where He “was obedient to His parents.” In fact, the only phrase that is used in Scriptures to describe what we call the “hidden years” of the life of Jesus (age twelve to thirty) was this expression of quiet obedience.
In the Holy Family we see an exemplar of Christian familial life, particularly in how they worship God as a family. Let us strive to imitate the Holy Family. Let us approach the Lord as one Catholic family in Mass. And, if you are blessed with the company of children this Sunday, this is a great time to gather for a meal and recite the Prayer to the Holy Family together.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is a regular contributor to the North Texas Catholic.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.