GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
Well one of the interesting things is that in Jewish tradition, not the Bible, but in Jewish tradition, the boy Samuel was 12 years old when he went into the tabernacle and was called by God, heard that voice, and began to prophesy. So for example, Josephus, the First Century Jewish historian, in his book The Antiquities of the Jews,
says this about the boy Samuel when he was 12 years old; listen:
Now when Samuel
was twelve years old
, he began to prophesy
: and once when he was asleep, God called to him by his name; and he, supposing he had been called by the high priest, came to him...
Then Josephus goes on to say God did this three times. So notice what's taking place here. In Jewish tradition, the famous story of the call of Samuel by God to be a prophet took place when he was 12 years old in the tabernacle. There wasn’t a Temple yet, so the tabernacle was the equivalent of the temple until the temple was built by Solomon, but it’s in the sanctuary of the Lord, in the house of the Lord, in the dwelling place of the Lord. So what some scholars have suggested is one of the reasons Luke tells you that Jesus was 12 years old is because he wants to reveal to us that Jesus, likewise, is coming into his own into his role as priest and prophet and king. He's entering into his identity as the messianic Son of God. Now if you have any doubts about that typology there's no question about it when you look at the end of Luke's account because you’ll notice, what was the last thing Luke said about Jesus in the gospel? It says that he increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Now if you were a First Century Jew and you knew the Old Testament, you would know that that is almost a direct quotation from the Book of Samuel. So, this isn’t in the readings for today, but, if you go back to 1 Samuel 2:26, it says this:
Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men
It’s almost verbatim. So what is Jesus doing? What is Luke doing in his account of Jesus in the finding of Jesus in the temple? He's revealing to us that Jesus is like a new Samuel. He is the new boy prophet who is going to speak the word of the Lord in the house of the Lord, and whose life is going to be totally dedicated to God, totally dedicated to his father's will, totally dedicated to the priestly sacrifice that he's going to ultimately offer of himself on Calvary.
SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):
The second reading is from Colossians, it is from one of the letters of St. Paul.
And because it's a feast day and not ordinary time, it is thematically linked to the other readings for the day.
In this case it's focused on St. Paul's teaching for the Christian family from his letter to the Colossians 3:12-21.
This a beautiful, beautiful passage.
You can find a similar passage in Ephesians 5, that's the more famous version of Paul's teaching for families, but every year at Christmas time the Church puts this particular passage before us to give us an image of not what Old Testament family life looks like, but what Christian family life looks like in the new covenant.
So listen to these words of wisdom from St. Paul.
He says this:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Aright, pause there for a second.
What has Paul just done? He's given us a list of all the major Christian virtues: compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness (that means gentleness), patience, forgiveness, harmony and above all love (agape).
Now why does the Church give us that?
Do you think perhaps the Church knows that living life in a family is not easy and that is easy to be unkind, impatient, prideful, lacking forgiveness, not having harmony, having discord?
Yeah, the Church knows that all of those things afflict family life, especially modern family life, where there has been such a breakdown of the family.
So it is wonderful that the Church is giving us this vision of the kind of virtues we need to cultivate if we are going to have peace and harmony in the family.
Above all forgiveness, as well as patience with one another, forbearing one another; because families are going to hurt one another.
You hurt the people that you are closest to so easily.
We need these admonitions from St. Paul to show us the kind of virtue that we have to intentionally cultivate in our family life if we are going to have happiness in our home.
Especially gratitude, there notice, it is so easy to complain all the time about the difficulties of family life.
Well what does Paul say?
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” and do everything with thankfulness.
Do everything with thanksgiving in your heart, praising God for the many blessings that come with family life.
Now I could stop there and get off easy, but I won't because the next verses are some more challenging verses.
And I have done a full presentation on this on a CD called Wives Do What?! Ephesians 5 & St. Paul's Life-Changing Vision of the Christian Family.
You can check that out if you want an hour long discussion of the implications of this passage, but for now I want to just keep it short and sweet and highlight here that Paul brings his discussion of the Christian family to a close by giving specific exhortations to four groups: wives, husbands, children and fathers.
This is what he says in these last verses...
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