Open Bible:
January 2004 

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The Holy Family




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The Holy Family

sainte famille 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 other.

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.  au Temple de Jérusalem

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.

le troisième jour 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.

leur chemin 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 always ours. 
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.