The Gospel reading from the Mass for the Feast of the Holy Family Cycle C is Luke 2:41-51.

In Luke’s Infancy Narratives (Luke 1-2:40), the Blessed Virgin Mary gives a firsthand account of Christ’s early years (Luke is thought to have received the account of Christ’s childhood directly from Our Lady some years after the Ascension). God selected holy and observant Jews to form the Holy Family for His Son; Mary and Joseph closely kept the Jewish religious practices (Sabbath, circumcision, presentation at the Temple of the firstborn, annual Passover pilgrimage). In this reading, Mary recalls the harrowing experience of losing the 12 year old Jesus during Passover and finding Him three days later in the Temple. 

For protection from road robbers, Mary, Joseph and Jesus walked the long journey (about 90 miles) from Nazareth to Jerusalem with a large group of family and acquaintances. After offering sacrifice at the Temple and keeping the Passover, Mary and Joseph leave with the large caravan, assuming Jesus is with the group as was the norm, but at the end of the first day, realize Jesus is not with them. Anxious, they return the next day and search for Jesus for another day; on the third day they find Jesus in the Temple. Christ, demonstrating both His divinity and the excellent job Mary and Joseph have done in teaching Him, amazes (literally, thunderstruck) learned rabbis in the Temple; at 12, Christ is listening and questioning like a seasoned rabbi. Ironically, some 20 years later, Christ will again teach at the Passover, be betrayed by Jewish priests and Crucified by Pilate.

When Mary and Joseph ask why He has caused them great anxiety, Christ, the Son of God, offers His first recorded words in the Gospels, “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?”; Mary recalls that she and Joseph did not understand Christ’s response at that time, but the Holy Mother pondered His mysterious words deep in her heart. With Christ’s astounding performance amongst the most learned of Israel, He most assuredly would have been asked to remain as a student/disciple of one of the top rabbis. Rather than remain, Christ, in obedience to Mary and Joseph, returns to Galilee to grow in fullness of stature of manhood.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, from His earliest days, Christ seeks to draw closer to His Father in Heaven. Person of the Trinity, Christ chooses the Blessed Virgin Mary to be His own mother and causes her to be born without sin. Divine Teacher, Christ amazes the brightest of Israel, even as a young boy.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at Christ’s ability to “amaze” the brightest minds on earth, the most learned of Israel, with His knowledge and intellect at the age of only 12 years old.

2) Despite the post-modern confusion about society and the family, as established by God the Father in Adam and obediently maintained by Israel, God’s plan for humanity is for it to be led by a patriarchy (governed by male elders). Christ confirms the sacrificial role of patriarchs by calling of Joseph to be His earthly father, by forming 12 men to be His Apostles, by appointing Peter and successive popes to lead His Kingdom on Earth, by establishing the male priesthood and by sacrificing Himself in the Crucifixion. During Christmas time, reflect upon God’s Plan of Patriarchy (CCC 261-267, 1297, 1312, 1577, 2214, 2571) and pray for Christ to help you grow into a sacrificial leader like St. Joseph. 

3) God’s plan of patriarchy (governed by male elders) is confirmed by the model of the Holy Family, which becomes the first “Domestic Church Militant”; the Domestic Church is the formed in the Sacrament of Matrimony, led by the father with the mother and who together welcome children; the Church Militant is Church on earth in Christ’s Kingdom which is engaged in the Spiritual Combat with the Domestic Church Militant forming the smallest cell. During Christmastime, reflect upon the The Domestic Church Militant (CCC 954, 962, 1655-1658, 1666, 2204, 2210, 2685) and pray for Christ to establish and guide you in the leadership of your own Domestic Church Militant.