After the finding in the Temple, Jesus returned with Mary and Joseph to Nazareth. There He lived with them, doing all He could to help His Mother and St. Joseph in their work. Jesus, God Himself, obeyed mortals, because He wanted to set us an example. He lived a life of obedience, humility, and poverty in Nazareth till He was about thirty years old , This hidden life teaches us, among other things, the value in the eyes of God, of prayer, humility and obedience.
How may the life of Jesus Christ be divided? –The life of Jesus Christ may be divided into three parts: His childhood to the time when He was twelve years old; His hidden life, to the time when He started His teaching; and His public life, to the time of His death.
After the murder of the Holy Innocents, the Child Jesus lived in Egypt with His mother and St. Joseph until the death of Herod, then returned with them to the Holy Land.
An angel appeared to Joseph and said, “Arise, and take the Child and his Mother, and go into the land of Israel” (Matt. 2:20). Just as St. Joseph had obeyed without question when told to take the Child to Egypt, so now he obeyed, knowing that God Who watches over the birds of the air would watch over those given into his charge.
The Holy Family lived in Nazareth. From there, every year Mary and Joseph went to worship at the Temple of Jerusalem. When Jesus was twelve years old, He went along with His parents to celebrate the Pasch at Jerusalem. Then Mary and Joseph left the city to return to Nazareth, but Jesus remained behind without their knowledge.
“But thinking that he was in the caravan, they had come a day’s journey before it occurred to them to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. And not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem in search of him” (Luke 2:44-45) We can only imagine the distress of Mary and Joseph upon having lost Jesus, most precious to them, the Child that had been entrusted to their care. And what was their joy when after three days search they found Him in the Temple, in the midst of the wise men there, hearing and questioning them! Mary told how great had been her grief when she said, “Behold, thy father and I have been seeking thee sorrowing” (Luke 2:48). But Jesus replied, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)
Jesus dearly loved Mary and Joseph, but He did not hesitate to cause them pain and part from them, in order to obey His heavenly Father’s will. In imitation of Him, many young people leave home and their dear parents, to enter the priesthood or a religious congregation, to serve God completely.
Some non-Catholic interpreters insist that Jesus had brothers, that He was not the only Son of Mary. Those spoken of in the Gospels as the “brethren” of Our Lord (Matt. 13:55), were His blood relatives; it was the practice among the Jews to call near relatives “brethren”.
So Abraham called his nephew Lot in this manner: “Let there be no quarrel between me and thee…. for we are brethren” (Gen. 13:8). As St. John Chrysostom wrote, Our Lord on the cross would not have needed to commend His Mother to his Apostle John, if she had had other children.
How long did the hidden life of Jesus Christ last? –The hidden life of Jesus Christ lasted from His return to Nazareth at the age of twelve until He entered into public life, at the age of thirty.
Of this part of Christ’s life all we directly read from Holy Scripture are two statements: “And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them…. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men” (Luke 2:51, 52). In these two sentences is contained the history of eighteen years of the life of Jesus Christ, the God-Man.
In the Temple, at the early age of twelve, Jesus had proved His wisdom before the doctors of the law. As St. Luke writes, “And all who were listening to him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). But did He continue after this unusual and favorable beginning; did He stay on to preach His doctrine? No; instead, He meekly followed His parents as a young child of that age, and went to live with them in obscurity in Nazareth.
The actions of Jesus Christ are intended for us as examples and instructions, as much as His words. As He said, “I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do” (John 13:15) The hidden life of Jesus is for us a perfect model of humility. He lived in poverty and lowliness: the Mother He chose was a poor woman; His foster-father was a carpenter; the town in which He spent the greatest part of His life was an obscure place despised by the Jews: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
By His hidden life Jesus Christ teaches us to learn holiness and wisdom before we presume to teach others. He teaches us, by living in obscurity, to fight against our vanity, which makes us desire to be doing only what seems great and important, which makes us desire to be praised and noticed. By His hidden life Our Lord teaches us to subdue our pride, to live day after day without impatience or complaint, unknown to the world, and even despised, if that is the will of God for us; then we shall have true peace of heart. And so Jesus said, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt. 11:29). For long years of obscurity in Nazareth, He was just “a carpenter’s son”.
The hidden life of Jesus Christ is for us a perfect model of obedience: “And He was subject to them.” The God of all created things, almighty and infinite, was subject to two poor and unknown mortals. He obeyed them in all things, promptly, constantly, cheerfully, and with great love.
Let us model our obedience on this perfect pattern. Let us obey our superiors as representatives of God, giving them due respect and prompt obedience. When our parents command us, and we go about doing what they want, but with murmuring and without spirit, is that the obedience that the Child Jesus gave in Nazareth? When we have to do some unpleasant or difficult task, let us imitate Jesus in His very words: “Yes, Father, for such was thy good pleasure” (Matt. 11:26).
In this way our obedience will be like that of Jesus, supernatural; we shall obey human beings for the love of God; we shall really be obeying God Himself, in the persons of those He has placed over us. By the example of His hidden life our Lord set the principle for the religious life, particularly for that in contemplative orders.
Jesus “advanced in wisdom and grace before God and men.” Although He possesed all wisdom and grace from the first moment of His mortal life, He manifested them only gradually and in a way that was in keeping with His years.
We can obtain much merit before God without doing any striking actions, by merely being humble and obedient in the place of life in which it has pleased God to put us. If Christ the Son of God, God Himself, was content to be humble, poor, and unknown, to do common tasks day by day for the greater part of His earthly life, is there any reason why we should be ever trying to exalt ourselves, to attract admiration, ever to feed our vanity?
This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds in the same district living in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them and the glory of God shone round about them, and they feared exceedingly. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of ,great joy which shall be to all the people; for there has been born to you today in the town of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ “
When was Christ born? –Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Christmas Day, in Bethlehem, more than nineteen hundred years ago.
- When Jesus Christ was born, the Jews were no longer independent. In 64 B.C. Pompey reduced their kingdom and subjected it to Rome. Because the Jews were always plotting rebellion against Rome, the Jewish king was replaced by Herod, a Gentile, the first non-Jew to become king. Thus the scepter was “taken away from Juda”, and the time predicted for the Messias had arrived.
- Today we reckon dates from the birth of Christ. This has been the continuous custom since the time of Charlemagne, although many rulers from the 5th century had adopted the practice. However, there is an error of some four to six years. Generally, it is supposed, as a matter of historical fact, that Christ was born 7-5 B.C. An error in the calculation of dates in later centuries produced this anomaly.
- Bethlehem is a little town in Judea, near the city of Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary went there in obedience to the Emperor at Rome, who had commanded all his subjects to register in the towns of their ancestors. Joseph and Mary were both descended from King David, whose city was Bethlehem; this is why they went to register there. They tried to find a place to stay in, even for only a night, but could find refuge nowhere. And so they sought shelter in a poor stable; there Jesus was born.
- Jesus was born in a stable, a poor place. He preferred poverty and humiliation in order to suffer more for us. He wished to show Himself a friend of the poor, and to teach that the best way to heaven is through humility, and detachment from worldly goods.
- The Church celebrates the Nativity on December 25. The feast is called Christmas. On this day every priest is granted the privilege of saying three Masses: one in commemoration of Christ’s eternal birth from God the Father; another in remembrance of His temporal birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and a third to recall His spiritual birth in the hearts of the faithful. The word “Christmas” comes from Christ and Mass The feast is so called because on that day the Mass commemorating the birth of Christ is said.
- An angel appeared to shepherds and told them of the Nativity. A star led three Magi (Wise Men) to Bethlehem. The shepherds represented the poor. The Magi represented the rich. All offered their gifts to the Infant Jesus. Our Lord does not look at the price of our gifts, but at the purity of our hearts. The Church commemorates the adoration of the Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. “Epiphany” means manifestation. In the persons of the Magi, who were not Jews, Our Lord was manifested to all nations of the earth, who were at the time lost in paganism. With the Magi, we are called to the Truth; the Old Testament was ended, and the world had entered upon a new Covenant with God. And if, like the Magi we offer Jesus Christ the gold of our love, the myrrh of self-sacrifice, and the incense of our prayers, we too shall be united with God.
- Many churches and homes set up a crib at Christmas. This custom, although of very ancient origin, was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi. In the year 1223, he visited Pope Honorius III and sought approval of his plans to make a scenic representation of the Nativity. Having obtained the Pope’s consent, Francis left Rome, and arrived at Greccio on Christmas Eve. There in the church he constructed a crib, grouping around it images of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, of the shepherds, the ox, and the ass. At the midnight Mass St. Francis acted as deacon. After singing the words of he Gospel, “And they laid Him in a manger” , he knelt down to meditate on the great gift of the Incarnation. And people around saw in his arms a Child, surrounded by a most brilliant light. Since then the devotion to the crib has spread far and wide. The crib remains in church until the octave day of the Epiphany. At the proper time the images of the Three Kings and their retinue are added, making a daily advance towards the crib.Most homes also set up a decorated Christmas tree. It is a reminder of the tree of the cross. The boxes of Christmas gifts remind us of the great Gift that God sent us.Santa Claus, the jolly and beloved distributor of Christmas gifts, is an American adoption of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, of the fourth century. This Saint is popular in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, where he is made the secret purveyor of gifts to children on December 6, his feast day. The custom was brought to New York by the Dutch, quickly spread throughout the United States and became absorbed into the Christmas celebration.
What incidents in Our Lord’s life were closely connected with the Nativity? –The following incidents in Our Lord’s life were closely connected with the Nativity: the Circumcision, the Presentation, and the flight to Egypt.
- The Child received the name Jesus when He was eight days old. He was circumcised, according to the custom of the Jews. At the Circumcision Jesus began His role of Mediator between God and man, shedding His blood for the first time for us.“Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for He shall save his people front their sins” (Matt. 1:21). “Therefore God . . . has bestowed upon him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:9,10). “If you ask the Father anything in my name. he will give it to you” (John 16:23). The feast of the Circumcision is celebrated on New Year’s Day. Thus the Church teaches us to begin everything in the name of Jesus.
- When Jesus was forty days old, His Mother presented Him in the Temple at Jerusalem. In imitation, though the rite is essentially different, mothers today after childbirth seek the blessing of the Church in a thanksgiving ceremony called “churching”. The feast of the Presentation is celebrated on February 2. It is also called the purification of the Blessed Virgin, or Candlemas Day. On this day candles are blessed and carried in procession, in memory of the words of holy Simeon, when Jesus was presented in the Temple. He said Our Lord was “a Light of revelation to the Gentiles”.
- Mary and Joseph took the Child Jesus to Egypt to save Him from King Herod, who wanted to kill Him. An angel appeared to Joseph and told him to take the Child Jesus and His mother away to Egypt. They stayed in Egypt until the death of King Herod. Then an angel appeared to Joseph and bade him return to the land of the Jews.
This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!