And He was subject to them
HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
Editor's Note: For Holy Family Sunday, the First Sunday after Epiphany and still Within the Octave, the focus is on the love of God and God's love for us shown so beautifully in the fifth Joyful Mystery of the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Here we see the obedience He gave to His earthly parents in exhibiting the kind of humility expected of each of His children in obedience to God and the rightful superiors God places in our care asking us to have charity in our hearts as we can see from St. Paul's epistle in bearing with one another in love for charity is the paramount virtue.
Epistle: Colossians 3: 12-17
12 Put ye on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience:
13 Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.
14 But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection:
Commentary on Verse 14 Above all these things have charity, the love of God, and of your neighbor, which is the bond of perfection, the end of all virtues, which unites the hearts of all to God. (Witham)
15 And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful.
Commentary on Verse 15 The peace of Christ rejoice: reign, conquer, bear away the prize. (Witham)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom, teaching, and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God.
Commentary on Verse 16 Employ yourselves in studying and reading the Scriptures; meditate on what our Savior has done and suffered for you. It is a calumny of our enemies, that we forbid the reading of the Testament. But the Church, fearing lest the faithful should read to their own destruction what was ordained for their salvation, wisely ordains that they should have recourse to their pastors, and receive from them those versions which she approves as most conformable to the Latin Vulgate, which has received the sanction of the holy Catholic Church, and at the same time forbids them those which might corrupt their faith. In this she acts the part of a good and provident mother, conducting her children to the rich and salutary pastures of peace and plenty, and carefully guarding then from others where tempting but noxious weeds luxuriantly grow up, watered with the baneful streams of polluted and poisoned sources.
If pure be the steams from the fountain,
As purely the river will flow;
If noxious the stream from the mountain,
It poisons the valley below.
17 Giving thanks always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father:
Commentary on Verse 17 Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let all be done for His honor and glory. See 1 Corinthians x. 31. (Witham)
Gospel: St. Luke 2: 42-52
42 And when He was twelve years [about the year A.D. 12.; A.D. 8, according to the Vulgate.] old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast.
43 And after they had fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child, Jesus, remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not.
Commentary on Verse 43 : It may be asked how the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph could possibly have come so far without missing Him; but we must take notice, that when the people went up to the temple from remote parts of Judea, the men went in one company, and the women in a separate company, whilst the children went in either company indifferently: so that St. Joseph imagined that He was with Mary, His mother, whilst she imagined He was with St. Joseph. (Nicholas of Lyra)
44 And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance.
45 And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all, that heard Him, were astonished at His wisdom, and His answers.
48 And seeing Him, they wondered. And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold, thy father and I have sought Thee, sorrowing.
49 And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know, that I must be about the things that are My Father's?
Commentary on Verse 49 I must be about the things that are My Father's? By these words He shewed, that not St. Joseph, but only God, was His father. (Witham)
50 And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them.
Commentary on Verse 50 They understood not, &c. That is, knew not when, or by what means, Christ designed to make Himself known to the world. (Witham)
51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth: and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart.
Commentary on Verse 51 Was subject to them. Astonishing humility! which the Son of God was pleased to teach by His example, as also obedience to parents. (Witham) --- The evangelist relates nothing of our Savior from the age of twelve till the age of thirty, except that He was subject to St. Joseph and the blessed Virgin. The divine Spirit shewing by this, that nothing is so great and amiable in Christians, as ready obedience to the directions of their superiors. (Barradius) --- All children are hereby taught what subjection and obedience is due from them to their parents.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
Commentary on Verse 52 Not that He was wiser at any future period of His life, than He was at the moment of His conception, but this is said, because He chose to manifest increasing signs of wisdom as He increased in years. --- In the same manner also He increased in grace, by displaying, as He advanced in age, the gifts of grace with which He was endowed; and by this excited men to the praise of God, from the consideration of favors God had bestowed upon Him; and thus He conduced to the honor of God, and the salvation of men. (St. Gregory) --- The sun, always equally brilliant in itself, is said to increase in splendor, till it has reached its meridian brilliancy. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2002.htm
Article 1. Whether man's happiness consists in wealth?
Objection 1. It would seem that man's happiness consists in wealth. For since happiness is man's last end, it must consist in that which has the greatest hold on man's affections. Now this is wealth: for it is written (Ecclesiastes 10:19): "All things obey money." Therefore man's happiness consists in wealth.
Objection 2. Further, according to Boethius (De Consol. iii), happiness is "a state of life made perfect by the aggregate of all good things." Now money seems to be the means of possessing all things: for, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 5), money was invented, that it might be a sort of guarantee for the acquisition of whatever man desires. Therefore happiness consists in wealth.
Objection 3. Further, since the desire for the sovereign good never fails, it seems to be infinite. But this is the case with riches more than anything else; since "a covetous man shall not be satisfied with riches" (Ecclesiastes 5:9). Therefore happiness consists in wealth.
On the contrary, Man's good consists in retaining happiness rather than in spreading it. But as Boethius says (De Consol. ii), "wealth shines in giving rather than in hoarding: for the miser is hateful, whereas the generous man is applauded." Therefore man's happiness does not consist in wealth.
I answer that, It is impossible for man's happiness to consist in wealth. For wealth is twofold, as the Philosopher says (Polit. i, 3), viz. natural and artificial. Natural wealth is that which serves man as a remedy for his natural wants: such as food, drink, clothing, cars, dwellings, and such like, while artificial wealth is that which is not a direct help to nature, as money, but is invented by the art of man, for the convenience of exchange, and as a measure of things salable.
Now it is evident that man's happiness cannot consist in natural wealth. For wealth of this kind is sought for the sake of something else, viz. as a support of human nature: consequently it cannot be man's last end, rather is it ordained to man as to its end. Wherefore in the order of nature, all such things are below man, and made for him, according to Psalm 8:8: "Thou hast subjected all things under his feet."
And as to artificial wealth, it is not sought save for the sake of natural wealth; since man would not seek it except because, by its means, he procures for himself the necessaries of life. Consequently much less can it be considered in the light of the last end. Therefore it is impossible for happiness, which is the last end of man, to consist in wealth.
Reply to Objection 1. All material things obey money, so far as the multitude of fools is concerned, who know no other than material goods, which can be obtained for money. But we should take our estimation of human goods not from the foolish but from the wise: just as it is for a person whose sense of taste is in good order, to judge whether a thing is palatable.
Reply to Objection 2. All things salable can be had for money: not so spiritual things, which cannot be sold. Hence it is written (Proverbs 17:16): "What doth it avail a fool to have riches, seeing he cannot buy wisdom."
Reply to Objection 3. The desire for natural riches is not infinite: because they suffice for nature in a certain measure. But the desire for artificial wealth is infinite, for it is the servant of disordered concupiscence, which is not curbed, as the Philosopher makes clear (Polit. i, 3). Yet this desire for wealth is infinite otherwise than the desire for the sovereign good. For the more perfectly the sovereign good is possessed, the more it is loved, and other things despised: because the more we possess it, the more we know it. Hence it is written (Sirach 24:29): "They that eat me shall yet hunger." Whereas in the desire for wealth and for whatsoever temporal goods, the contrary is the case: for when we already possess them, we despise them, and seek others: which is the sense of Our Lord's words (John 4:13): "Whosoever drinketh of this water," by which temporal goods are signified, "shall thirst again." The reason of this is that we realize more their insufficiency when we possess them: and this very fact shows that they are imperfect, and the sovereign good does not consist therein.