Homily for the feast of the Holy Family - Year C - Lk. 2:41-52


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Now the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 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. » 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? » And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 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. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man."




Homily:


"Now the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom."


On Sunday after Christmas, that is to say today, the Church proposes us to celebrate a special feast in order to honor the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Now, what could be the goal of the Church, and therefore that of the Holy Spirit who guides her, in proposing to us such a celebration? The answer immediately appears to our minds. The protagonists of the event of Lord's Birth are evidently Jesus and Mary, since the Child is born out of his Mother. It is clear that the feast of today is destined to highlight the one who never speaks in the gospel, Joseph, the spouse of Mary.


"When the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers."


Here we see both Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, at work in order to recover him. They had lost their unique child, this child whom God himself had entrusted to their care! What a test! Definitely they asked God to help them in their search for Jesus. Still, they never did they lost their complete confidence in the Divine Providence. They knew that they would find him, but yet they lived through the most tense moments of their existence. After this test was finished, they could then face all, because the graces which they deserved during these three decisive days should be always their help.


"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. » 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? » And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them."


Joseph and Mary finally found Jesus in the temple. But, in this meeting, it is visibly Mary who is speaking. Joseph seems to be silent... It is Mary who is speaking in the name of Joseph : "Your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." Mysteriously, the answer of Jesus is directly concerning his Heavenly Father, and not the one of earth. Not only is Joseph silent, but Jesus seems to act as if Joseph was not there, as if then the man who is with Mary was not his father. Here is a true Mystery! Something is here that surpasses our human abilities to fully understand: "They did not understand the saying which he spoke to them."


"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. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man."


A Mystery has just been revealed by Jesus! Mary understood this! She thought of it again later, a long time after... "His mother kept all these things in her heart." But what is this Mystery? Will we know it one day? Maybe... In any case, this story of the Gospel is about a Mystery of the Holy Family! So, it is possible that this may not fully concern us, because every family has its secrets...


We will need to wait in order to know more about this. Let us pray to Mary and Joseph, that they might ask the Child Jesus to welcome us into the house of our Father in heaven... May this holy communion of today be for us the sure link that constantly better unites us to the whole family of heaven!



To order the weekly homily immediately, click here