Liturgical Year C

The Holy Family; Not so ordinary family

Do you like your family? Are you proud of your father and mother, your siblings, your ancestors? Do you think that you have received the best possible education and the right measure of love, tenderness, confidence and discipline? Many of us have been trying to show to themselves and especially to others how great their family is. The problem is that the true, realistic picture about our family past or present is far away from an idealistic one. Why? It’s very simple - because there is not an ideal perfect human being so there can’t be an ideal perfect family as well.

So I’m so glad that the picture of Jesus’ family we see in the Gospel is far away from the idealistic one. In fact, Jesus’ family was so different, even weird and eccentric in comparison with a “normal” family of that time. As far as we know they had just one kid – Jesus – in time when everybody had 10 children and more; Mary and Joseph weren’t real husband and wife; they often didn’t understand what was going on with Jesus – the proof we have in today’s Gospel as well.

The event, although it happened 2000 years ago, is so familiar to any modern family with teenagers. A provincial boy, twelve years old Jesus made his own decision to stay in the big city of Jerusalem without saying anything to his parents. His attitude shows us how much confidence they had – they weren’t even worried when they didn’t see Jesus a whole day long. That made their disappointment even worse – their own child decided to stay in Jerusalem on his own. His answer, without any excuse, was ambiguous – as the firstborn, Jesus was consecrated to God – in that sense he belonged to God more than to his parents. Moreover, we would expect that everything was clear to Mary and Joseph – they knew that God is the real Father of Jesus. Nevertheless, Saint Luke concluded: But they did not understand what he meant.

I’m sure that that Mary and Joseph gave their best raising Jesus. The event we have just contemplated shows us that the education of the Son of God was an adventure in which we don’t have all answers and solutions. Nobody can teach us how to be good parents because of the simple fact that every child is so special and unique. How unique child Jesus was, we can just imagine, but Mary and Joseph didn’t give up – moreover, Jesus’ public life, his strong masculine personality in the same time full of tenderness and love show us that they were excellent parents after all.

Dublin, 2012.

28.12.2012.Author: p. Antun Volenik, SJ
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