Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Soon, we’ll be celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany – the “seeking and finding” of the newborn King as a Baby in Bethlehem, by the Magi. This morning, however, I was remembering from reading Volume 3 of Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth - The Infancy Narratives, something I remembered about the “seeking and finding” of the Boy Jesus in the Temple by His parents. I remembered being so impressed when I first read Pope Benedict’s insights into this scene that I wanted to re-read again what he had written about both “seekings and findings”. First, I’ll quote a bit about the Magi.
From Matthew’s Gospel, the Pope relates this, in Chapter 1V:
…“When they saw the Star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Mt 2:10). It is the joy of one whose heart has received a ray of God’s Light and who can now see that his hope has been realized – the joy of one who has found what he sought, and has himself been found. “Going into the house they saw the child with Mary His Mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him.” (Mt 2:11). Strikingly absent from this sentence is any mention of St. Joseph, even though Matthew’s infancy narrative was written from Joseph’s perspective. We meet only “Mary, His Mother” by the side of Jesus at the scene of adoration. I have yet to find a completely convincing explanation…
The Pope ends Chapter IV --after much more about the wise men and also the Flight into Egypt – with this:
…The two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel devoted to the infancy narratives are not a meditation presented under the guise of stories, but the converse: Matthew is recounting real history, theologically thought through and interpreted, and thus helps us to understand the mystery of Jesus more deeply.
“The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus in the Temple” is the title for the book’s Epilogue, which the Pope begins with these words:
Besides the story of Jesus birth, Luke has preserved for us one further small and precious element of tradition regarding our Lord’s childhood, in which the mystery of Jesus is illuminated in a very particular way.
I’ll save quoting further from Pope Benedict’s “Epilogue” until after the Feast of Epiphany perhaps, so we can dwell more on the “seeking and finding” by the Magi for a few days more. Perhaps we can see and hear more by faith into the fact that after seeking, (and being told lies by Herod) they found Jesus with Mary His Mother.