January 23, 2014

January 23, 2014: Fear, Smoke, and Fire


Mark 3:7-12

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Week 2: What was Jesus' childhood like?
IDENTITY: Why did Jesus go to the Temple when He was 12?

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“The Torah laid down that every Israelite was to make an appearance in the Temple for the three great feasts: Passover, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Exodus 23: 17; 34: 23f.; Deuteronomy 16: 16f.). The question whether women were also obliged to make this pilgrimage was a matter of debate between the schools of Shammai and Hillel. As for boys, the obligation applied to them once they had completed their thirteenth year. But it is also laid down that they were to accustom themselves gradually to the commandments. One way of doing this was to make the pilgrimage at the age of twelve.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, pg. 121

“Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.”
Luke 2:41-42

The Holy Father continues: “The fact that Mary and Jesus also took part in the pilgrimage once again demonstrates the piety of Jesus’ family. We should also note the deeper meaning of the pilgrimage: by going up to the Temple three times a year, Israel remains, as it were, God’s pilgrim people, always journeying toward its God and receiving its identity and unity increasingly from the encounter with God in the one Temple. The holy family takes its place within this great pilgrim community on its way to the Temple and to God.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, pg. 122


Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would recited their favorite passages form the Old Testament as they walked 93 miles over seven days. Read Isaiah 43:1-7. Read it a few times. Pay attention to what words or phrases “tug” at your heart. Pay attention to all of your thoughts, feelings, and desires as you slowly read the text. What is God saying to you as He sees you through His eyes.

Now, prayerfully imagine the scene in Luke 2:46. The child Jesus is teaching in the Temple. Be with him. Look at him. Be there. Notice his freedom. Now, he turns to you. Jesus asks you: “How do you define yourself?” What do you want to tell him? Listen to what he says in reply.

TODAY'S PRAYER:  “Jesus, I desire to know you in a deeply personal way. Help me to grow in my relationship with you by growing allowing you and you alone to determine my identity.” 

© Fr. Mark Toups, 2014