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by Fr. Francis Carvajal December 28, 2020 4 min read

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1/31.1 Jesus wanted to launch the Redemption of the world from the heart of a family.

And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.[459]

The Messiah wanted to start his redemptive task in the bosom of a simple, ordinary family. The first thing that Jesus sanctified with his presence was a home. Nothing extraordinary happened during those years in Nazareth where Jesus spent the greater part of his life.

Joseph was the head of the family. He was a father according to the law and it was he who supported Jesus and Mary with his work. It is he who received the message as to what name he must give the Child: And you shall call his name Jesus, and heard the words of those who wanted to protect the Child: Rise, take the Child and his Mother and flee to Egypt (Matt 2:13). Rise, take the Child and his Mother and go to the land of Israel. Do not go to Bethlehem, but to Nazareth (cf Matt 2:20 23). It was from Joseph that Jesus learned his trade, which was to be his means of earning a living. Jesus must often have shown his admiration and affection for him.

From Mary, Jesus learned certain turns of phrase, popular expressions full of wisdom which he was later to use in his preaching. He saw how she kept back a little dough from one day to the next, so that it could act as leaven; she added water and mixed it with the new dough, leaving it to rise, well covered with a clean cloth. When his mother mended their clothes, the Child used to watch her. If a garment was torn she would look for a piece of cloth to match. Jesus, with a child’s curiosity, would ask her why she did not use a new piece of cloth. Our Lady explained to him that when new patches are washed they pull on the old cloth and tear it; that was why she had to make a patch out of used cloth... The best clothes, the ones they wore on feast days, were kept in a chest. Mary also took great care to place certain aromatic plants between them so as to prevent moths from damaging them. Years later these occurrences will appear in Jesus’ preaching. We never forget this teaching which is fundamental to ordinary life. Mary spent nearly every day of her life like millions of other women who look after their families, bring up their children and take care of the house. Mary sanctifies the ordinary everyday things – what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God![460]

Between Joseph and Mary there existed a holy affection, a spirit of service, and a mutual desire for each other’s happiness. This is Jesus’ family: sacred, holy, exemplary, a model of human virtues, ready to carry out God’s will exactly. A Christian home must be an imitation of the house of Nazareth: a place where there is plenty of room for God so that He can be right at the centre of the love that members of the family have for one another.

Is our home like this? Do we dedicate to it the time and attention that it deserves? Is Jesus its centre? Do we live only for the others? These are some questions which we could ask in our prayer today, whilst we contemplate Jesus, Mary and Joseph on the feast that the Church dedicates to them.


[459] Luke 2:39 40

[460] St J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 148


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.

Francis Fernandez-Carvajal,

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.



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