The feast of the Holy Family
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit Avila (The Freeman) - December 30, 2018 - 12:00am

Today is an important Feast in the Catholic Church as it is the Feast of the Holy Family which is why the gospel reading today is about the boy Jesus at the temple that you will read in Luke 2:41-52. More so that the Catholic Church has ordained that 2019 is the Year of the Youth after it finished the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Life. However we mustn’t forget that only last Friday December 28 was Holy Innocents Day where the Catholic Church gave tribute to the innocent children King Herod ordered massacred because he was scared of one of them taking over his throne in Judea. So let’s read Luke 2:41-52

 

“41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.

“46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

“51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

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As Luke wrote, every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for Passover. Now whether they brought the boy Jesus with them ever year was not mentioned. But certainly for this gospel reading, they brought him when he was 12 years old. Now in the Jewish law when a boy reaches 13 years old, they bring him to a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony. This is when a Jewish boy is granted all the rights and obligations of an adult. It is a milestone for a young Jew where he is asked to read passages from the Torah. But Jesus was still 12, so it was probably in preparation for his Bar-Mitzvah.

If you remember the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, you will note that there were actually more than 5,000 people fed as women and children were not counted. Anyway, the parents of Jesus left Jerusalem in the caravan thinking perhaps that the boy Jesus was with his friends, after all the caravan is a huge parade of people. After a day’s travel, it was then that they realized that Jesus was not in the caravan, so Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

Since they spent a day in the caravan and perhaps another day’s journey to return to Jerusalem, they probably spent another day searching for Jesus until they found him in the temple sitting with the teachers. So they asked him “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  Jesus replied to them, “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.”

Then Jesus returned with his parents back to Nazareth and was obedient to them. And as Luke pointed out in his gospel “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” We only know about the story of the birth of our Lord and his travel into Egypt, but when they returned to Nazareth we didn’t read about Jesus again until his gospel story. Then once more Jesus disappears to return to his Galilean ministry.

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For email responses to this, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

HOLY FAMILY
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