Monday, February 6, 2017

Hidden Life

We recall that in years past, the days in February were designated on Catholic calendars as dedicated to the hidden life of Christ. After the twelve-year-old Jesus is found in the Temple seated among the elders, we hear no more of him until his ministry begins. What happened during those many years of ordinariness in Nazareth? We are told in Luke’s Gospel only that Jesus went home with Mary and Joseph and was obedient to them growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

If we are to be "imitators of God as his own dear children," it is possible because in his ordinary life at Nazareth Christ Jesus first imitated Mary and Joseph. The Word learned to speak words from listening to Mary and Joseph. The Creative Word learned the trade of carpentry from Joseph. Scholars believe that for some of the years of Jesus’ so-called hidden life he probably went off to work with Joseph as an itinerant carpenter in the grand city of Sepphoris, which was being renovated at the time. It was a trip of about three and half miles northwest of Nazareth. We like to imagine Jesus with Joseph going off each morning and chatting, the two of them carrying their tools and the lunch that Mary had packed for them.

Photograph by Brother Brian.