Posted by: RAM | December 26, 2015

Sunday (December 27): “Why were you looking for me?”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the
 the Divine Infancy

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

First Reading: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalms 128:1-5: Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-21
Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
of Passover,
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.

Reflection: How cans families grow together in mutual love, harmony, and care for one another? When God made a covenant with his people, he taught them his way of  love:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength – And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart – and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).  

God the Father’s love is a covenant love that binds people together as his beloved children. His love is the cornerstone that binds man and woman in one flesh in marriage, and in their mutual love for their children, and for their children’s children for generations to come. God wants his love to be the center of all our relationships and all that we do. That is why God gives us his Holy Spirit so we can love as he loves us. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Jesus was born into a family devoted to the word of God
When God sent his only begotten Son into the world, Jesus was born into a human family as a Jew who was raised according to the teaching and wisdom of God’s word in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament Scriptures) and the religious customs of his people. Jesus was born under the law of Moses (Galatians 4:4) and was circumcised (the sign of being a covenanted member of Israel) on the eighth day and given his name, Yeshuain Hebrew (Jesus in English) which means “God saves.”

We know little about Jesus’ early life at home in Nazareth. Luke in his Gospel account gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ growth as a boy into young manhood. Luke tells us that Jesus was obedient to his parents – Mary, his mother and Joseph, his foster father. As devout and God-fearing Jews, Joseph and Mary raised the boy Jesus according to the Scriptures and Jewish customs. It was the duty of all Jewish parents to raise their children in the instruction and wisdom of God’s word in the Scriptures.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

A home life centered on prayer and the reading of Scripture
Jewish home life was centered on daily family prayers, including the singing of the Psalms and the reading of the Scriptures. Every Friday evening, the family gathered for a festive meal with the lighting of the Sabbath candle and prayers of blessing over the bread and wine to open the celebration of the Sabbath holy day. Each Saturday morning the family attended the Sabbath service which includes a reading from the Torah (five books of Moses) and chanting the psalms at the local community synagogue. Older boys were sent to school on weekday mornings, called the “house of the book” (either at the synagogue or the rabbi’s house), where they were given further instruction in the reading and study of the Jewish Scriptures. Every Jewish boy was required to memorize the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures (the Torah or Books of Moses) by the age of 13. They also learned to memorize and put into practice the wise counsels found in the Book of Proverbs (Wisdom of Solomon) and the Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) which was another common book of instruction for Jews living throughout the Greek-speaking world.

Jesus’ journey to the Father’s house
Jews were expected to travel to Jerusalem for the high feasts each year (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles). Jesus undoubtedly traveled with his parents every year from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This eighty mile journey normally took three days. So families often traveled in large groups, for safety and comfort.

Luke records a remarkable incident which happened when Jesus went up to the temple at Jerusalem for his first Passover at the dawn of his manhood (usually the age of twelve for Jewish males). It was at this key turning point in his earthly life that Jesus took the name “father” from Joseph and addressed it to God his Father in heaven. His answer to his mother’s anxious inquiry reveals his confident determination to pursue his heavenly Father’s will. Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49)

Jesus obeyed and served his family at Nazareth
While Jesus identified himself as Son of the eternal Father in heaven, he, nonetheless, submitted himself with love and obedience to Mary and Joseph.  Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear (Godly respect) and wisdom of God. Luke tells us that Jesus grew as a man in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and with the people of Nazareth, his home town. He remained at Nazareth until the age of 30 when he was baptized by John at the River Jordan and anointed by the Spirit for his mission as the Messiah and Savior of the world.

God the Father reveals his rich favor, blessing, and joy to all who listen to his word and who follow his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you follow and obey the Son who shows us the way to the our Father’s house and family in heaven?

“Lord Jesus, you came to restore us to peace and friendship with the Father in heaven. Where there is division, bring healing and restoration. Where there is strife bring peace and forgiveness. May all families and nations on the earth find peace, harmony, and unity in you, the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world.” author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. John the Apostle, Patron of love, loyalty, friendships, and authors
It is God who calls; human beings answer. The vocation of John and his brother James is stated very simply in the Gospels, along with that of Peter and his brother Andrew: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John “were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21b-22).

For the three former fishermen—Peter, James and John—that faith was to be rewarded by a special friendship with Jesus. They alone were privileged to be present at the Transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemane. But John’s friendship was even more special. Tradition assigns to him the Fourth Gospel, although most modern Scripture scholars think it unlikely that the apostle and the evangelist are the same person.

John’s own Gospel refers to him as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), the one who reclined next to Jesus at the Last Supper, and the one to whom he gave the exquisite honor, as he stood beneath the cross, of caring for his mother. “Woman, behold your son…. Behold, your mother” (John 19:26b, 27b).

Because of the depth of his Gospel, John is usually thought of as the eagle of theology, soaring in high regions that other writers did not enter. But the ever-frank Gospels reveal some very human traits. Jesus gave James and John the nickname, “sons of thunder.” While it is difficult to know exactly what this meant, a clue is given in two incidents.

In the first, as Matthew tells it, their mother asked that they might sit in the places of honor in Jesus’ kingdom—one on his right hand, one on his left. When Jesus asked them if they could drink the cup he would drink and be baptized with his baptism of pain, they blithely answered, “We can!” Jesus said that they would indeed share his cup, but that sitting at his right hand was not his to give. It was for those to whom it had been reserved by the Father. The other apostles were indignant at the mistaken ambition of the brothers, and Jesus took the occasion to teach them the true nature of authority: “…[W]hoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).

On another occasion the “sons of thunder” asked Jesus if they should not call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans, who would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. But Jesus “turned and rebuked them” (see Luke 9:51-55).

On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene “ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him’” (John 20:2). John recalls, perhaps with a smile, that he and Peter ran side by side, but then “the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first” (John 20:4b). He did not enter, but waited for Peter and let him go in first. “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8).

John was with Peter when the first great miracle after the Resurrection took place—the cure of the man crippled from birth—which led to their spending the night in jail together. The mysterious experience of the Resurrection is perhaps best contained in the words of Acts: “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they [the questioners] were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Apostle John is traditionally considered the author of the Fourth Gospel, three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. His Gospel is a very personal account. He sees the glorious and divine Jesus already in the incidents of his mortal life. At the Last Supper, John’s Jesus speaks as if he were already in heaven. It is the Gospel of Jesus’ glory.

More Saints of the Day
St. Fabiola
St. John the Apostle
St. John the Evangelist
St. Maximus
St. Nicarete
St. Theodore and Theophanes

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito


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