Jesus’ Early Life

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 512-34:

  • Jesus’ entire life is bound up in the mystery of our redemption; His humanity is a sacrament – a sign and instrument – of His divinity and the salvation He brings.
  • God took centuries to prepare humankind for the coming of the Son, preeminently through the divine Revelation to Israel, as set forth in the Old Testament.
  • This careful preparation culminated in St. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, who served as the forerunner heralding His imminent arrival; we enter into this spirit of expectant waiting for the Messiah during the season of Advent.
  • The Son of God humbled himself to become a tiny baby, born in menial circumstances in a stable; we celebrate His birth, this extraordinary condescension of His love for us, during Christmas.
  • In submission to the Law, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, and was thereby formally incorporated into the people of Israel.
  • The baby Jesus was revealed as the Messiah and Savior of the world when the pagan magi came to adore Him, prefiguring all of the Gentiles who would believe in Christ; we celebrate this “Epiphany,” from the Greek for “manifestation.”
  • During the Presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple, He was hailed as Messiah by Simeon, symbolizing Israel’s long-awaited encounter with the Savior.
  • But the forces of evil were already marshaling against Him; King Herod, in an attempt to destroy the Messiah, massacred all of the baby boys in Bethlehem; the Holy Family escaped by fleeing to Egypt for a time.
  • The child Jesus was obedient to Joseph and Mary; the Holy Family lived a normal daily life in Nazareth, giving us the model for family life.
  • At the age of 12, Jesus was found in the Temple, engaged in brilliant discussion with the religious scholars; thus Jesus knew who He was, and was already attuned to His purpose long before commencing public ministry.

Live Your Faith

Almighty God willingly humbled Himself to share the physical existence, drudgery, pain, and even death, of humanity.

In so doing, Jesus sanctified the most ordinary and mundane aspects of human life. He helped with household chores, spent time at His lessons, learned the carpenter’s craft from St. Joseph, and worked in the family business.

As a result, our daily routine can also be a path to holiness for us. Let us consciously offer it to Jesus, knowing that He has done the same, out of love for us.

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