Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
When asked by his mother why he caused them to search for him in sorrow, our Lord responded: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Here the Lord Jesus, although a mere boy of 12 years, manifests his clear knowledge of who he really is – he is the Son of his Father. Thus, he must be found in the temple, which is his Father’s house. He must be doing his Father’s business for he was sent by this same Father on a mission here on earth. He knew that he was sent, thus he sets out doing his Father’s business. “Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine Sonship…” (CCC, 534) St. Ambrose wrote: “What was accomplished in a manner above nature, above age, above what was usual, must not be ascribed to his human excellence, but must be referred to the power of his divinity.” (St. Ambrose, On the Gospel; Catena Aurea) Jesus, the Son of God was totally consecrated to the mission given him by the Father. Thus we understand why the Father would later on declare his pleasure in him: “You are my Son, my beloved. In you my favor rests.”
Indeed, the Father ought to be well pleased with Jesus his Son. After all, Jesus was truly obedient to his Father in heaven. In his obedience, he descended from heaven and assumed a human nature. Although his divinity was never diminished by his humanity, nevertheless he submitted himself to the authority of Mary and Joseph. His humble submission to those who in reality were but his creatures is a manifestation of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. St. Ambrose said, “Are we to be astonished that he obeys his Father who was obedient to his mother? A subjection like this, (is) not of dependence, but of filial love.” (Ibid.) The obedience of Jesus is a wondrous obedience. “He was obedient to man. He was obedient to his handmaid…” (Ibid.) St. Bernard asked, “Who was subject to whom? A God to men. God, to whom the angels are subject, whom principalities and powers obey, was subject to Mary…(and also) to Joseph.” (St. Bernard, On the Feast of the Holy Family; Catena Aurea) Such an excellent humility that God should obey a woman! (Ibid.)
In the Santo Niño we behold excellent humility and obedience. He is fully divine and yet he stoops to obey his human mother. Doing so does not diminish his divine dignity but makes it even more astonishing. He himself said that those who humble themselves will be exalted. Indeed, he is the both humble One and the Exalted One. A little Child and yet a mighty King - His humility is his exaltation. And thus he paves for us the path to salvation but setting himself as the example. And so, St. Bernard said: “Learn, O man, to obey. Learn, O earth, to be subject. Learn, O dust, to submit. The evangelist in speaking of thy Maker says: He was subject to Mary and Joseph. Be ashamed, vain ashes that you are. God humbles Himself, and do you exalt yourself? God becomes subject to men, and will you, eager to lord it over men, place yourself above your Maker?” (Ibid.) And so the Lord invites us: “Come to me…and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart!”
Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!