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The Holy Family 

In the midst of this Christmas atmosphere we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. The Gospel of Luke 2, 41-52 tells us a very particular event in the ordinary life of the small family of Nazareth. The text tells us, on the one hand, a family, religious and cultural tradition of the life of the Jewish people: traveling to Jerusalem once a year for Easter if possible and in the midst of this event a common circumstance for many parents, the child they lose...

The traditional pilgrimage to Jerusalem during Passover is part of Jewish culture and religion. Currently there is even a concept known in Israel as "Aliyah" which means "going up to the podium from where a piece of the Torah is read", because aliyah comes from going up. But this word also refers to the return, that is, the movement back towards Jerusalem, the immigration to return and live in Israel, and since Jerusalem is geographically on a small mountain, one must climb, since the same concept is used.

The Gospel then tells us of this annual Aliyah, this traditional pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The v. 41 says that "every year they went to Jerusalem", the parents of Jesus go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year, for the Passover feast. This traditional festival is a re-memoration or commemoration, that is, the renewal of the alliance between God and the people of Israel in their "today", that alliance that is eternal and that reaches from generation to generation to whoever wants to receive it, is there. also for Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Easter is the founding event of Israel, God freed his people from slavery so that they would be free forever, they will remain faithful to worship him as the only God and God will make them his people forever. This is the reason for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which from Galilee, in a caravan and bordering the Jordan River, was made every year at that time.

Then the v. 42 confirms this usual rite by saying that the same thing happened when Jesus was 12 years old, "they went up according to custom" (in Greek katá tó ethos, κατὰ τὸ ἔθος) to Jerusalem. The city is a commotion those days, pilgrims from all over who return to Jerusalem, bring offerings, thieves etc. are not lacking, as when in our traditional Mexican pilgrimages to the Villa de Guadalupe or Zapopan the same is not lacking in thieves and you have to be attentive, although white balance is always reported, thank goodness. Well, in Jerusalem you had to be careful too. Among the merriment, the incense -necessary to perfume the environment due to so many animal sacrifices on the altars-, mixed with the smell of roast meat... obviously attractive, the sounds of animals, the murmur of people, the songs of joy, the prayers that go up as a moan asking God for forgiveness, the doctors of the law inside the temple, etc. etc the caravan is in the midst of the joy of meeting or reunion with relatives and friends and in the most important religious festival in Israel, which confirms the identity of the people as God's people. They spent at least a week there. But then you had to go back to ordinary life, return home with your batteries well charged, as we say in Mexico, to continue on.

The gospel tells us that they are preparing for the return and the entourage (in Greek the siunodiaσυνοδία), that is, the group that comes together from Nazareth in the caravan, now prepares to return to the north of Israel, to Galilee. Everyone is happy, they have prayed, they have seen friends and relatives, they have made their offerings, they return full and hopeful. The return is starting but Jesus is still a child, that's what the gospel calls him, in Greek countryπαῖς, is a term that refers to children and slaves, because it ultimately indicates submission, he is only 12 years old, he has not yet reached the 13 years necessary to be an adult in Israel, therefore he is not yet mature enough to decide properly and must be subject to their parents. But Jesus shows a determined personality, a character Thus the evangelist is underlining the obedience to which he decided to submit even to his earthly parents being God, opting for the incarnation.

Jesus child however, makes his own decisions and initiatives. It is the time of adolescence, the time of testing, of defining one's own code of values, of defining goals, of confirming and consolidating the future. And Jesus is showing that his discernment is done. All the education he has received from his parents is revealed at this time. They have educated him for true freedom, and although it will not be his time yet, because that freedom will have to mature even more, one can already glimpse what this young man has decided for himself.

His parents, calm, assume that he is coming with the caravan, the assembly, they trust him, he will be with the other teenagers, among the relatives, but he spends a whole day on the road, they start looking for him and nothing. He is neither among relatives nor among friends or acquaintances. What a scare, today they could immediately an amber alarm, for immediate search. The parents have to return... alone perhaps, the second day on the road but now back. Then, after three days of intense searching, they finally get it back. He was there, in the temple, in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Jesus is deciding his identity, he too will be a teacher (in Greek didáskalos:διδάσκαλος). The evangelist presents Jesus as a child who is already shaping his character, making his decisions, directing his will, wide awake to learning. He is there sitting in the midst of the teachers, yes he is there as a Teacher, that is what Mary Magdalene and the disciples call him, in Hebrew: רַבִּי that is, rabbi, distinguished teacher, for his wisdom, insight, discernment, etc., with his interventions, his listening and his questions, everyone is amazed at his intelligence and his answers.

The boy's parents are surprised by the scene. The boy in the middle of the teachers, what will become of this boy? but how father and mother react "Why have you done this to us, son? Your father and I were looking for you in anguish." And he serenely responds with a claim so wise that it has traversed time and space: "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that it was necessary for me to be in everything that belongs to my father?" or as he will say later: "Father, all that is yours is mine and all that is mine is yours" (Jn 17).

The anguishing search represents those moments where the teacher gets lost and we can't "fit the pieces" as we say in Mexico.

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