Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Feast of the Holy Family Sunday Cycle C

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

Wisdom That Get Wiser Everyday

We heard from our Gospel reading today that the twelve year old Jesus “progressed steadily in wisdom and age and grace before God and men”.

It is obvious that Jesus grew in age. Each year added a year to his age. At the time of his being found in the temple he was 12 years old, as Luke tells us. The next year he would be 13 years old. And so forth, until he reached 30 years old, the age when he started his public ministry, again as Luke tells us in the next chapter of his Gospel.

It is also obvious that Jesus grew in grace. The word “grace” used here means basically “favor” in the original Greek. In other words he grew in favor in the eyes of God and of human beings. His Father God was more and more pleased with him and more and more human beings, especially his human parents, appreciated his presence and work among them.

But it is not clear how Jesus could have progressed in wisdom because he was already the all wise God even before he was born a human being. Furthermore in the verse before our Gospel reading today we read “The child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” (verse 40). If he was already full of wisdom how could he have progressed in that characteristic of his life?

This passage which tells us that Jesus progressed in wisdom gives us a very important truth that most of us miss because we put unequal emphasis to another aspect of Jesus’ personality, his divinity. We think too much of Jesus’ divinity that we may forget his complete humanity. And this verse we just read in the Gospel reading today emphasizes that Jesus was a completely normal human being.

The Letter to the Hebrews makes this very clear to us, he “was tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned” (4:15). Paul wrote to the Philippians, “he (Jesus) emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men” (2:7). In other words Jesus behaved like any other ordinary human being would do. The only difference between him and other human beings was that he never committed a sin.

Because Jesus was a completely genuine human being he progressed in wisdom. He grew in wisdom.

Wisdom is different from knowledge. Knowledge pertains to knowing something. Wisdom pertains to knowing how to do things. We search for knowledge in the dictionary and in the encyclopedia. We look for wisdom in a recipe book. An encyclopedia tells us information about many things. A recipe book tells us how to cook a dish. An encyclopedia makes us knowledgeable about many things. A recipe book enables us to be wise in cooking a dish. After several trials we become expert in cooking a particular food. We have become wise in respect to the cooking of that food.

In this sense Jesus progressed in wisdom. He learned how to talk, how to walk, how to cook, how to play, how to study the Scriptures. He learned how to appreciate nature. He learned his trade which was carpentry. The creator of the world became a humble carpenter. He learned how to cut wood, how to form it to his desired object, how to join one piece of wood to another.

And because Jesus is still a human being even now he keeps on progressing in wisdom. He is already Lord of all by virtue of his death, resurrection and ascension but he has not ceased to be a human being. And because he is still a human beings he keeps on progressing in wisdom. He is the wisdom that keeps on growing wiser everyday.

What would Jesus even now learn how to do something? He is learning even now how best to manage our lives. He is our Lord and he has complete control over us but he does not want to violate our free will. As God he made us human beings with freedom. As man he wants to partner with us in bringing about the new creation he has always longed for. This he does first of all by praying for us. He intercedes for us night and day. This is very clear when we read the Letter to the Hebrews, particularly 7:25.

Another way Jesus is acting on our lives is through his Holy Spirit whom he sent to us to be our comforter. Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Romans says that Jesus poured his Spirit into our hearts. The Spirit of Jesus is in our lives to make us wise. He is also called the spirit of wisdom.

Jesus is able to make us wise in what we do because he himself progressed in wisdom. Through his Spirit he lives in us making us wise in all that we do. He does not come to our hearts to just sleep there. He comes to our hearts to energize our body, soul and spirit so that we can become like him.

This is true wisdom for us, how to be like Jesus. And Jesus is more than happy to lead us into the way whereby we become like him. The process may be painful at times, but it is most rewarding. John tells us, “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”, (1 John 3:2).

Let us bow down our heads as we pray.

Jesus, you progressed in wisdom. Even now as a glorified human you still continue to progress in wisdom. You want to know how to lead us nearer and nearer to your self without violating our freedom. Thank you for managing our lives through your Spirit. Thank you for making us wiser and wiser everyday through your Spirit. Amen.

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