1st Reading: Sirach 3:2-6,12-14

The Lord honors a father above his children, and he confirms a mother's  right over her children. Those who honor their father atone for sins, and those who respect their mother are like those who lay up treasure. Those who honor their father will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they will be heard.
Those who respect their father will have long life, and those who honor their mother obey the Lord; My child, help your father in his old age and do not grieve him as long as he live; even if his mind fails, be patient with him; because you have all your faculties do not despise him. For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and will be credited to you against sins.

2nd Reading: Colossians 3:12-21

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven  you, so you also forgive.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart.

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, " Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my  Father's house?"But they did not understand what he said to them. 

Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.


"Nazareth, a school for family life."

The story is told of a couple who were renewing their marital vows during their wedding anniversary. At the reception after Mass, the husband was asked by the master of Ceremonies, " If you were given the chance to start life anew, would you marry the same woman?"
Caught by surprise, the husband pondered on the question in silence. The wife waited for his reply nervously. Then in front of all the guests, he said empathetically, " Yes I will."
On hearing this, the wife busted in tears. " These are tears of joy," she explained. " I'm  not perfect, but I try my best to be one because of his love." Love makes them perfect.

When God the Father sent His Son into the world, He willed that His Son be born into a human family, though not perfect. God willed that the family that Jesus would embrace be a family of Love because He is love. In this sense Jesus grew up in Nazareth with Mary and Joseph. They are poor but loving family, observant of the religious traditions of the Jewish people. The Christian family is called upon to be a community of faith, hope and love that reflects the Trinitarian mystery. For this reason, " It can and should be called a domestic church" (Familiaris Consortio no.210).

The gospel today shows a devout Jewish family, when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to present to the Lord as their first- born. The parents were very observant Jews, who introduced Jesus to their religious tradition soon after his birth. It is under this background that Jesus was shaped by Jewish tradition since from his childhood. It was in and through his family that he came to know the God of Israel, that he learned to pray, in particular the psalms, that he first heard the stories of the Jewish scriptures. He was immersed in the Jewish tradition by his parents. 

However, as he grew older he made that tradition his own and took it in a direction that, at times, his parents and family found it difficult to understand ( Challenging Jewish traditions that manipulated people, the Jewish tradition that set the walls between people of various tribes and races-i.e. Samaritans and the Gentiles. He challenged the Jewish tradition that did not care human needs and materialize the love of God among people etc).

Most of us will have picked up the faith from our parents; they introduced us to the religious tradition that was so important to them. As Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord, our parents brought us to the church for baptism. It was probably in the home that like Jesus, we too learnt to pray and heard the stories from the scriptures for the first time. 

We are also challenged by the scriptures today, more especially from the gospel reading that there comes a time when like Jesus, we have to make the traditions we received from our parents our own. The tradition is part and parcel of our lives, thus let us also honor our mother traditions. It is from the traditions that we acquire our identities and maturity. We received faith from the Christian tradition, thus we must nurture it and make it part and parcel of our lives.

It is said at the end of the gospel that Jesus grew to maturity. We spend our whole lives growing to maturity, and it is in and through our personal response to the  Lord's call of us by name that we will come to fully human maturity. Jesus, as well as being fully divine, was fully human, and it is in and through our personal relationship with him that we too become fully human.

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Chapisha Maoni