January 14, 2014

Nazareth: Day 2: January 14

Week 1: Getting to know Mary and Joseph
LOVE: Who is Mary of Nazareth?

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

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

“Know for certain, littlest of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, mother of the true God through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the master of heaven and earth. … I am your mother. The merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy, and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes. ... Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you? Am I not here, I who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am 1 not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe's words to Saint Juan Diego


To know Mary’s heart we listen to the words that poured forth from Mary’s heart: the Magnificat. Begin by slowly reading Luke 1:46-56. Read it a few times. Now, prayerfully imagine the “hidden scene” of Nazareth. Imagine an ordinary evening in the home of the Holy Family. Jesus is still an infant. Mary is a new mother. The day has come to a close. Mary lays next to the infant Jesus to help him fall asleep. In the silence Mary quietly sings the words of Luke 1:46-56. She loves to sing …  and sings tonight as Jesus falls asleep. Imagine how many nights Jesus would have fallen asleep to the sweet sound of his mother singing her praise to God. Be there. Be in the scene. Listen to Mary’s voice singing. How much does she love God?

TODAY'S PRAYER:  “Jesus, I desire know you in a deeply personal way. Today I ask that you would allow me to grow in my relationship with your mother so that I might know her as you did.”

© 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 1:21-28


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.