In hearing the Gospel story you can almost conclude that Jesus was a naughty boy, like boys seem prone to be, but we know that was never true of Jesus. A Jewish boy is defined as an adult when he is 12 years old and is required to attend the Passover Feast if he lives within 15 miles of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is 80 miles from Nazareth and the trip took 3 to 4 days each way. A family would stay in Jerusalem for 8 days of the Passover Feast. Women and children start back earlier than the adult men and Jesus, being 12 was considered adult. Mary and Joseph thought that Jesus was in the other group but Jesus stayed back and was attending Sanhedrin classes on religious and theological questions as an eager student. Once they found Jesus, what in today's language and culture do you think Joseph would have said after Jesus would have said, "What's the big deal? Didn't you think to look in my Father's house?" Joseph would have said, "Sorry son my house is in Nazareth. You are grounded for a month." In that the
Jewish culture at that time was significantly different than ours today, Scripture tells us just that they went home and Jesus obeyed his parents gaining in wisdom and knowledge.
Even though times have changed, the Holy Family would still be considered a model family, hard working, helping each other, working hard to understand one another and accepting each other as God's gift. Their Family Code was as St. Paul tells us "kind, gentle, humble, meek and patient. Putting up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong. Love is more important than anything else. ... Use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other." In today's culture this is clarified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under "The duties of parents" para. 2221 thru 2223 which in summary says create a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and unselfish service are the rule in addition to teaching values vs. getting things and give good example. The fact is we create a home no matter how large or small the family is. A family is as small as a couple, or even a widow or widower or as large as dozens of people of all ages, children and/or adults. When we create a home like that to the
best of our abilities we will be truly rich as our reading from Sirach tells us.
For the New Year let's consecrate our families to Jesus and ask him to teach us how to live with the same faith and trust as the Holy Family did.