January 13, 2014

Nazareth: Day 1: January 13

Week 1: Getting to know Mary and Joseph
WHERE: The city of Nazareth

Missing the YouTube plug-in? Click here to listen to the homily via YouTube


Imagine how Mary and Joseph would have prayed with the prophet Isaiah as they eventually settled in Nazareth. Begin by slowly reading Isaiah 49:13-16. Read it a few times. Now, prayerfully imagine the scene in Luke 2:39. Be in the scene. Be with Mary and Joseph and Jesus. Ask them to “show” you Nazareth. Talk to them about “where” you are. Talk to them about how you feel about “where” you are at this stage of your life.

TODAY'S PRAYER: “Father, I desire know you in a deeply personal way. Give me the grace today to find joy and fulfillment in you and you alone.”

© Fr. Mark Toups, 2014


Luke and Matthew’s Gospels have their own lens through which they tell the story of Christmas. Thus, the Gospels end differently. Luke has the nativity concluding with the presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22-38), while Matthew has the nativity end with the flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-22).

However, both Gospels agree with the place chosen for Jesus’ childhood home: Nazareth.

The Scriptures tell us very little about Nazareth, and what we do know isn’t very flattering. In John 1:46, Nathanael scoffs as he asks, “What good can come from Nazareth?” In Luke 4, Jesus returns home to his native synagogue and proclaims the well known passage from Isaiah 61:1-2. Luke 4: 22 says that immediately following the reading, “And all spoke well of him”. However, soon after, Nazareth’s leaders “were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.” (Luke 4:28-29) It seems that Jesus struggled to minister in Nazareth, lamenting, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.” (Luke 4:24)

With all her imperfections, Nazareth was home. While Joseph’s ancestral roots were in Bethlehem , Joseph considered Nazareth home (Luke 2:4). While Mary had relatives to the south in Judah, Mary considered Nazareth home (Luke 1:26).

Nazareth was home. 

In Luke 2:39 we read: "When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him." Later in Luke 2:51: & 52 we read: "He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man."

That's it: three verses. Jesus didn't start his public ministry until he was 30 years old. We know a bit about his birth, much about his last three years of life ... and almost nothing about his first 30 years of life. All we know is that it all happened in Nazareth.

Over the next several weeks we'll unpack a the hidden text of the Scriptures. In other words, while we don't know the exact details, we do know that much happened in the 30 years of Jesus' hidden life.

Together we'll learn more about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Together we'll learn more about his childhood, his teenage years, and those sacred years preceding his Baptism. Together we'll learn about what happened in the hidden years ... in Nazareth.

Welcome home, welcome to Nazareth.


Mark 1:14-20


Christ the Redeemer will start a new Bible study, beginning the last week of January, focusing on the Gospel of Matthew. The class is free. There will be two classes. The first class will be once a week in the morning and the second class will once a week in the evening. If you are interested in more information, please call 985-447-2013 and ask for Margie in reference to the Bible study. Check out the YouTube clip below for a peak at the Bible study.