LK.2: 41-52




I was surprised at a friend’s reply when I asked about her children. She said her children are all great; in fact they are so ahead of their age that she thinks they even think more maturely than her and her husband. There is of course, a great deal of pride in her words when she presents her children to others. But if her children are more mature than her, what does it make of their mother in their eyes? Do they even need their parents to survive in this world?


We often see this growing trend, when parents idolize their children so much that they think they are almost complete in themselves. Many parents do not want to act as parents and project themselves to their children as friends, as gang, as contemporaries. Psychologists feel that this is actually an abandonment of the responsibilities of parenthood and that this attitude causes harm in the children’s development.


The Gospel brings us back to Jesus’ childhood as we reflect on the Feast of the Santo Niño, one of the most favorite celebrations in the Philippines. The Gospel does in fact show the boy Jesus ahead of his age as he bravely separates from his parents after the Temple pilgrimage in order to tackle discussions with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. His attentive listening, incisive questions, and intelligent answers drew people’s admiration for him.


To the credit of Joseph and Mary, they did not leave Jesus to act on his own. They sought out the boy for three days before they found him. And Mary did not spare Jesus her words of reproof for such reckless act. She explained to him the impact of his unannounced disappearance, the suffering and anguish both she and Joseph endured. And while the Lord Jesus explained his side, in the end, he took his parents hands and journeyed with them back home.


Not a word or an incident was ever mentioned about Jesus’ boyhood other than this mischief. Luke emphasized that the Lord, as a boy, remained obedient to his parents, subject to their authority, while slowly growing “in wisdom, age and grace before God and men.” In Catholic tradition, these hidden years of the growing Son of God saw the blossoming of respect, love and unity of the Holy Family. Jesus prepared for his mission by submitting to earthly parents. Joseph and Mary contributed to his maturity and development by teaching, guiding, and leading the Holy Child.


Gone are the days when parents ruled the home with strictness and rigor. However, children still need their parents to love and protect them, to serve as examples, to open their eyes to the reality of life and its challenges. Jesus’ own appreciation of his parents invites all parents to assume, and not abandon, their God-given mission to their children.