- The Holy Family
The Holy Family is celebrated in the harmonious mood of Christmas
with the story of Jesus found in the Temple. At first we don't
see much of a link between this episode and the Holy Family and
our families so diverse in our days, more so when the couple
are divorced or separated.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus during his life went three times
to the Temple of Jerusalem. Three visits that shed light on each
The first visit is imposed to the newborn by the presentation
rite. As any newborn, he is deprived of speech. Simon takes him
in his arms. The prophetess Ann speaks for the child. He is completely
dependent on the others.
The second visit shows up an evolution. Jesus is twelve years
old. He was a child; he is not anymore. Something is ending;
something else is starting. The Easter pilgrimage of the family
to Jerusalem is going to transform those who were considered
till now a child. We see him speaking with authority and taking
initiative. He attracts admiration around him. It is in the Temple
that Luke reports his first words.
For the third visit, Jesus has a thorough knowledge of himself.
He teaches every day in the Temple. The people listen to him
with great attention.
At each visit the contradiction is growing. At the presentation
of Jesus in the Temple, Simon announces that he will be a sign
of contradiction. During the annual pilgrimage, Mary and Joseph
do not understand the words of their child. At the last Easter,
the opponents of Jesus have more and more intent to kill him.
The more he speaks, the more opposition he receives.
Then, Jesus stayed in the Temple without telling his parents,
while they were searching for him with anguish. They will find
him after the third day like the disciples of Jesus will do at
Easter after the anguish of the Passion days.
What means the silence of Jesus towards his parents? " Child,
why did you do that to us? Look how we worried searching for
you, your father and I? It is an expression of great suffering.
Till then Jesus was affiliated to his parents. Today he escapes.
The harmony is broken. It is a complete misunderstanding.
He answers to his mother by another question. "Why did you
search for me? Did not you know it? It is with my Father that
I should be"
Jesus is blaming his parents to look for him in places where
he was not and should not be. His place is in the Temple, the
house of his Father. Jesus speaks of Him only as his Father.
It is possible that it is in the Temple that for the first time
he becomes aware of his mission.
At twelve years old, he has not finished to grow in humanity
and to understand his mission. But he does not stay in the Temple.
He goes back with his parents and he is obedient to them.
The episode of the Temple sheds some light on the relationships
between parents-children. Our children do not belong to us. They
are not like us. They have to find their own way that is not
- One day they will go away. It will be misunderstanding
and anguish for the parents. They will painfully experience the
loss of them yet in a different way find them again. A rupture
for a new growth.