Christmas yesterday, and the feast of the Holy Family today. The nearness of these feasts reminds us of the essential dimension of Jesus’ humanity. However extraordinary the circumstances, Jesus was born into a family from whom he received what was necessary for him to “advance in wisdom and age.”
It is easy enough to dismiss this. Today’s Gospel lends itself to a frame of mind that emphasizes Jesus’ immediate “pipeline” to his heavenly Father. Taken too far, this reduces Mary and Joseph to functional characters who are a kind of stage set for Jesus’ divine mission. This fails to do justice to the humanity of Jesus who learned the measure of manhood from the just man, Joseph, and the surrender of loving obedience from his mother, Mary.
Only in this way can we give proper due to the “both-and” that marks our Catholic sensibility: Jesus the son in the family of Mary and Joseph in Nazareth and Jesus who receives all that he has from the Father.
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