Feast of the Holy Family
December 30, 2018
Scripture scholars tell us that the stories of Jesus’ birth and the events surrounding them can be seen as “the gospel in miniature.” Matthew and Luke have structured these stories so as to anticipate some of their Gospel themes.
Today’s familiar story of Jesus in the temple is a transition between Luke’s infancy stories and the rest of his Gospel. In this charming tale of a lost child, parents desperately searching for him, and the conclusion in the temple, we find some key themes Luke will use later.
The temple itself is a favorite setting for Luke. He’s already pictured Zechariah, and Mary and Joseph there, and now he brings Jesus to the temple. Luke’s Gospel will conclude with the disciples of Jesus in the temple praising God.
Mary and Joseph are on a journey to Jerusalem—foreshadowing a similar journey Jesus and his disciples will make. And perhaps most importantly, Jesus’ first words describe the urgency he has to be “in my Father’s house.” The business of the Kingdom has begun, and Jesus must be about it.
In the midst of our Christmas celebrations we’re reminded that there is “the rest of the story,” which will culminate in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the birth of the Church. Along with Mary and Joseph and all who follow him, we have begun the journey.