We know that, as an adult, zeal for His Father’s House will consume Him. He’ll roll up His sleeves to cleanse the Temple of all works righteousness; of all buying and selling of indulgences. And then He’ll bare His arms and stretch them out, and lay down His Body and Life in sacrificial death, in the confidence that His Father will raise Him up again; so that His own Body becomes the Temple of the Living God for you and for all people.
All this He has done and accomplished, and now we all know the rest of the story; even as we hear about the twelve-year-old Boy Jesus. In that respect, you know more now than He did then. For in a mysterious way that we can hardly fathom, He grew and increased in wisdom: He listened to His teachers, and He learned from them, as from His parents.
He was catechized. He asked questions, in order to learn, to make progress in His knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.
Though He is Himself the very Word made Flesh, and He has at all times the perfect Wisdom that begins and continues with the fear of the Lord; still, He lives a truly human life. He lives the life that you, also, have been created to live, which flows with and from the hearing of the Word of the Lord; and is always flowing into His holy Temple.
The Word of God became flesh, conceived and born of St. Mary, so that His own Body would become that Temple of God. But He achieves that purpose by living your childhood pattern in His upward journey to the Father on your behalf.
So it is that His parents catechized the little Lord Jesus. They did for Him what your parents do for you, and what you parents do for your children: They taught Him the Bible, they took Him to church, they brought Him to His pastors, they prayed and worshiped with Him.
They weren’t perfect. They made mistakes. They got frustrated, worried, scared, and impatient. They were astonished by Him, and they did not always understand Him. But they lived within their vocation, as His parents, and so they taught Him. And He learned from them.
So did He increase in His wisdom.
And so did He learn from the Feast of the Passover — to which His parents faithfully brought Him each year. He learned that every firstborn male is the Lord’s. In truth, all of God’s people are His own children; He has not only created them, but has redeemed them for Himself. But the firstborn sons are His in a pointed and particular way. For the firstborn sons of Israel were spared in the Exodus, when the Passover Lamb was put to death in their place.
Thus, the infant Christ Child was presented to the Lord in the Temple, when He was six weeks old, the firstborn Son of His Mother Mary, according to the Law of the Lord. He was consecrated to the Lord, His God and Father.
And He knows, now, at the age of twelve, that sons belong in their Father’s House at the Passover. That is what the Feast requires.
He belongs in the Temple, a Son at His Father’s Table. And in time, when His Hour has come, He will Himself be the Lamb that His Father gives for the Family.
Which is why, dear child of God, you also belong here in your Father’s House, gathered here at His Table. For you belong to His holy family, and the Lamb who has lived your life has also been sacrificed for you.
Let us therefore keep the Feast. For here in His Body is the Temple of your God and Father, in which you now abide, forever and ever. His flesh feeds and nurtures you for life, and His Blood covers and protects you from death.
For He has come down from heaven to abide with you here for a little while,
so that you may now go up with Him to the heavenly Jerusalem, and live with Him there.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.