Good News for the Day, December 31, 2017
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (17)
When they were finished with the ritual purification the law of Moses prescribed, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem for his dedication to the Lord. After they had done everything that the Law of the Lord prescribed, they went back home to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. The boy matured—got strong—a very wise person and in him there was a God-like graciousness.towards God and for people. (Luke 2)
The family of Jesus submitted to the rules of their society. They understood the “law of the Lord” is real, that the presence of God infuses good laws with guidance. Like you and me, they saw a good law makes sense—needs to be obeyed—to get done.
This attitude is a holy spirit—a sacred outlook—to have respect for the rituals of the past. Such obedience, done thoughtfully and respectfully, is the mark of the humble follower of Jesus. True, Jesus can turn and violate the interpretations of the laws—as He shows several times about obeying the Sabbath. He knows that His conscience—his “holy spirit”—is fundamentally skewed towards loving, caring, healing, forgiving, and acceptance of others. The One Deeper Law of Love has priority over all written laws.
This family of Jesus knew that it was right to “fulfill” rules, to share in the prescribed rituals, and to finish what amounted to saying thanks to God for successful childbirth. In the end that is what ritual is all about—that personal I-Thou—moment of appreciating our Father.
Then they went home. There Jesus grew in wisdom about family love, working for a living, learning Scripture, and everything that contributes to human adulthood. A mechanical translation of the final words here are: and Jesus grew up in wisdom, height and caring in relation to God and people. Perhaps the point for you and me to consider is that this young sapling kept growing for the rest of His life. He learned more wisdom as time went on. He grew up growing more and more caring. He gained that inner strength which makes someone adult. It is our Good News here to re-discover that our family roots ground a lifetime of always-growing-up—eventually and gradually turning us into true Children of our Father—as part of That Holy Family.