Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Holy family is example of growing together in holiness
Based on 1 Sam 1:20-22, 24-28; 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24; Lk 2:41-52
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear that every year Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the Passover. This year, since Jesus is 12 years old, he goes with them.
Visiting the big city, seeing the crowds and participating in the religious rituals must have fascinated Jesus. He stays behind in Jerusalem as the caravan from Nazareth leaves for home. The women in the group leave first because they travel more slowly. The men’s group leaves a little later. That evening, Joseph and Mary, each thinking Jesus was with the other parent, discover Jesus is missing.
Joseph and Mary return to Jerusalem. After searching for three days, they find Jesus in the temple listening and asking questions of the religious teachers. The teachers are amazed at how much Jesus understands. When Joseph and Mary see Jesus, Mary asks, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Jesus answers, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Joseph and Mary do not understand Jesus’ answer.
Jesus didn’t mean to worry them. But Mary and Joseph thought something had happened to him. Jesus goes back to Nazareth with them.
For 18 more years, Jesus lived an ordinary life in Nazareth. He studied his lessons, did his chores, went to the Synagogue on Saturday, played with other children, helped his mother and worked alongside Joseph doing carpentry work.
Scripture tells us that during this time, “Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”
This Gospel shows us the love and care that Jesus, Mary and Joseph had for each other. The Holy Family’s beautiful example shows us how to be loving, caring, honest, respectful and unselfish in our own families – how to grow together in holiness.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, fill our hearts and our homes with that same love and care.