Christus Vivit 27-29: Training For the Father’s Plan

In these final paragraphs on the topic of Jesus’ younger years, it seemed Pope Francis offers a reflection in three close parts. Let’s read:

27. From what the Gospel tells us, we can say that Jesus, in the years of his youth, was “training”, being prepared to carry out the Father’s plan. His adolescence and his youth set him on the path to that sublime mission.

It might be easy to ask why Jesus needed “training.” It seems to me he had the human experiences of other persons, and drew from this the fodder for his very effective teaching tools. This training period also meant he was viewed by his life’s companions as a young man in a neighborhood, community, wider world. He was indeed fully human:

28. In his adolescence and youth, Jesus’ relationship with the Father was that of the beloved Son. Drawn to the Father, he grew up concerned for his affairs: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Lk 2:49). Still, it must not be thought that Jesus was a withdrawn adolescent or a self-absorbed youth. His relationships were those of a young person who shared fully in the life of his family and his people. He learned his father’s trade and then replaced him as a carpenter. At one point in the Gospel he is called “the carpenter’s son” (Mt 13:55) and another time simply “the carpenter” (Mk 6:3). This detail shows that he was just another young person of his town, who related normally to others. No one regarded him as unusual or set apart from others. For this very reason, once Jesus began to preach, people could not imagine where he got this wisdom: “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Lk 4:22).

Aside from Jesus’ relationship as a contributing member of his community, the family references go beyond the inheriting of a business. From the few verses in Luke, we can make sound assumptions about his role as a son, and how his parents “trained” him for adulthood.

29. In fact, “Jesus did not grow up in a narrow and stifling relationship with Mary and Joseph, but readily interacted with the wider family, the relatives of his parents and their friends”.[Amoris Laetitia 182] Hence we can understand why, when he returned from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, his parents readily thought that, as a twelve-year-old boy (cf. Lk 2:42), he was wandering freely among the crowd, even though they did not see him for an entire day: “supposing him to be in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey” (Lk 2:44). Surely, they assumed, Jesus was there, mingling with the others, joking with other young people, listening to the adults tell stories and sharing the joys and sorrows of the group. Indeed, the Greek word that Luke uses to describe the group – synodía – clearly evokes a larger “community on a journey” of which the Holy Family is a part. Thanks to the trust of his parents, Jesus can move freely and learn to journey with others.

Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site.

Any comments?

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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