By CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
Only you fans of “Catholic Jeopardy” would know this: Classically, in our Catholic calendar, each of the twelve months is dedicated to a title of Jesus, an event in his life, a name given to him, his mother or his adoptive father. . And February? This month is dedicated to “The hidden life of Jesus”.
This may take a bit of explaining! Jesus physically spent thirty-three years with us here on earth. Only three of them, from the age of 30 to 33, the last three years of his life, those we call his “public life”, are well chronicled. Sure, we savor his birth and first months, and remember when he was “lost in the temple” at age twelve, but let’s face it, we know very little about 90% of the time. of his life, and which we call his “The Hidden Life”.
On reflection, since nothing in God‘s plan of salvation is meaningless, we can only assume that there is indeed a lesson here. What can the Lord teach us as we ponder those quiet, unknown years?
On the one hand, we can learn how the Lord relishes silence. A little boy once asked Padre Pio: “What language does God speak?” The holy priest smiled and replied, “God speaks the language of silence.”
“Shut up, and know that I am God!” whispers the Bible. “It is in quiet confidence that your strength will be.”
We have no recorded words of Jesus except for one phrase when he was 12 years old, until he began his public ministry eighteen years later. 90% of the Savior’s earthly life was spent in silence. Receive the message?
Second, these “hidden years” speak volumes about the supreme value of family life, brought up in a loving home by a mother and father. The Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity. “God of God, light of light”, was submitted to Joseph and Mary in their house in Nazareth. Receive the message? Home life, family life, has immense significance in God’s plan.
Third, God’s revelation teaches us the beauty of a religious home. Joseph and Mary were very faithful Jews. They taught Jesus His prayers; He learned the psalms by heart; they “catechized” him into the truths, traditions, and moral expectations of Jewish belief; they went to the synagogue every Sabbath; they were celebrating festivals.
Receive the message? A mother recently informed the deacon of her parish: “We had to decide if our son would go to basketball practice or to religion classes. We chose basketball. Thank God that was not the case in Nazareth!
Fourth, the “hidden years” of our Lord demonstrate the merit of labor in the sight of God. Jesus was dismissed as “the carpenter’s son” when he became famous. His earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter and scholar of family life in Israel assure us that the son would work hard in the father’s business. Our Savior, “the way, the truth, and the life,” was a working man! Receive the message?
Five, and finally, these unknown days in the life of Jesus teach us the need to preperation. Jesus took a long time to prepare for his mission, his vocation: to save us! I have never met an athlete, scholar, artist, musician, teacher, or professional who would disagree. Receive the message?
So, maybe those years we remember in February weren’t so “hidden” after all!
Our Catholic calendar
The Holy Name of Jesus
The hidden life of Jesus
Our Blessed Mother
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Precious Blood of Jesus
The Assumption of Our Lady
The Sorrowful Mother
The Departed Faithful