Have you ever thought about what it would have been like to be the parents of the Child Jesus? By the time Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord, they already knew there was something special about this child. First, his conception by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the subsequent message from the angel to Joseph, when he was told to not be afraid, but to take Mary as his wife and to be a father to the child she would bear. Even the way in which the child was named was in visions and dreams: to Mary from Gabriel when she learned she was to have a son and then in a dream to Joseph when he was told that he was to name the child Jesus. And what about how the birth of the child spread among the people and how they came to pay homage to him, even kings from foreign countries? Again, all of this part of God’s plan to save the people of Israel and all people of the world. Because Joseph named Jesus, Jesus was then part of the lineage of the house of David, Joseph’s own lineage, his ancestors. This unfolded as the prophets had foretold hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. Jesus was indeed the long awaited Savior!
Now, in Luke’s Gospel today, we read that Mary and Joseph brought their child to be presented to the Lord. It was the child that Simeon awaited, for it had been made known to him through the Holy Spirit that he would live to see the Christ child. Simeon knew immediately that this child brought to him as was the custom for all Jews, was the long awaited Savior. Joseph and Mary must have been astounded at what Simeon spoke in regard to their child; that he was destined to be the rise and fall of many in Israel and that he would be a sign that would be contradicted. Then to Mary he foretells how she will experience the piercing of a sword. Can you imagine how this moment of joy in presenting this child to the Lord in the temple became a moment of fear and questioning for Mary and Joseph? We can only imagine; young parents with a new child who wanted only to love and protect him. And yet, they left that day knowing that this child was indeed special and his life and theirs were in the hands of God. Scripture does not contain much information about how Jesus grew up as the son of Joseph and Mary, only that “. . . he grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”
There were many years between the baby Jesus and the grown man who began his public ministry by being baptized in the Jordan that we know very little about. We are left to imagine whether Jesus was a well-mannered, well- behaved child, always respectful of his parents or so human in nature that his parents had to teach him right from wrong, how to be a caring person or how to act with love and compassion. Or was it Jesus who taught his parents?
We might ask ourselves the same question, those of us who are blessed to be parents by God’s design. To be sure we teach our children and they learn much from our being their parents, actually, the good and the not so good. And yet, most parents could tell many poignant stories of how they have in so many ways, learned from their children.
Let us Pray:
A Prayer of New Parents
With love in our hearts beyond our imagining
We hold in our arms the incredible wonder of new life.
We praise you and thank you for the gift of our child.
Be with us every moment of every day.
Bless this child and our family with your grace as we
Commit to living Christian lives.
Guide us as parents that we might teach our child in right ways.
Strengthen our resolve to discipline, always out of love,
Gift us with the patience and wisdom needed to persevere.
As our child grows, teach us when to hold close and when to let go. Our desire is to assist in your plan for this new life, That this child might become all you intended they be. Our trust is in you Lord, be with us when we doubt ourselves Sooth us with your love when we experience disappointment. Increase our ability to forgive one another and show mercy.
Only in you Lord will we and our child come to understand the true meaning of unconditional love. In your name and with gratitude we pray; Fill our hearts with the joy and wonder of parenting.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC