Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

First Sunday After Christmas (Yeldo)

Sermon / Homily on Luke 2:40-52

Jesus: A Normal Teenager

Gospel Reflections by Father Gerry Pierse, C.Ss.R.

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52

While devotion to the Sto. Niño has done much to sustain the faith of the people there are those who argue that it has not helped them to mature. It is an image that has Jesus as an infant and yet dressed as an adult. It seems to indicate by-passing the difficult and necessary formative stage of adolescence. Sometimes this stage is also more or less by-passed, or not handled with sensitivity, in our culture.
The only story we have of the childhood of Jesus is in Luke 2:41-50. It is the story of his being lost in the Temple and of his peculiar response to Mary and Joseph when they eventually found him. It shows us that Jesus was a very normal teenager and shows us how Mary handled the situation. It tells us that the youth, Jesus, left the group, returning from visiting the temple in Jerusalem, without asking permission. When they found him after three days he talked back to his parents. When he did this his parents did not understand. From this it would seem that it is perfectly normal for a young persons as they grow up to resist parental control, to talk back to parents and it is also normal that parents should sometimes be totally confused by their children's behavior. If it happened in the holy family itself it is likely to happen in ordinary families. The difference will be in the handling.

We are told in the Gospel that Mary held all of these things contemplatively in her heart. The parents of Jesus did not burst into a rage or did not try to make Jesus ashamed by their punishing words. They seemed rather to follow the example that Jesus himself had set when he was lost in the temple. In the temple, instead of being frightened at being lost, Jesus sat amongst the doctors listening to them and asking them questions. It is quite amazing that these old men listened to the child. They did so because he listened to them first. What happened then, and still happens to us, is very clear. When we are afraid we do not listen. The opposite is also true. When we listen we cease to be afraid.

Very often we do not have listening in a family because there is fear. There may be fear of appearing weak, of losing face or authority, or of being refused or punished. This fear leads one to want to control by threat or violence so that the other person then becomes afraid. If, on the other hand, there is honest listening there will be a realization that there is a fearful human being at the other side. It is very hard, but necessary, for parents to admit their own fears and weakness sometimes to their children. They begin this process by listening to what is going on in their own hearts in prayer. Having listened to the fears within they can begin to listen to the fears of others and that is the beginning of love.

Source: Sundays into Silence - A Pathway to Life. Copyright © 1998 by Claretian Publications

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Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the 1st Sunday after Christmas

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