God’s plan for families to be led by fathers with their wives is celebrated in the Feast of the Holy Family. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Obedience so he can be obedient to God’s call to headship and by growing in the Virtue of Duty so he can more perfectly imitate the sacrificial leadership of St. Joseph. 

Commentary

In Luke’s Infancy Narratives (Lk 1-2:40), the Blessed Virgin Mary gives a firsthand account of Jesus’ early years. God selected holy and observant Jews to form the Holy Family for His Son; the Blessed Mary and St. Joseph closely kept all the required Jewish religious practices.

When Jesus is twelve, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph depart with a large caravan after the Passover, but at the end of the first day, realize Jesus is missing. Anxious, they travel a day’s journey back, look for a day, and finally find Jesus in the Temple on the third day. Jesus, demonstrating both His divinity and the excellent job St. Joseph, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, have done in teaching Him, amazes (literally, thunderstruck) the learned rabbis in the Temple; at only 12 years of age, Jesus is listening and questioning like a seasoned rabbi. Ironically, some 20 years later, Jesus will again teach at the Temple during the Passover, and be betrayed by Jewish priests and crucified by Pilate.

When the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph ask why He has caused them great anxiety, Jesus offers His first recorded words in the Gospels, “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?”; the Blessed Virgin Mary recalls that she and St. Joseph did not understand Jesus’ response, but she pondered His mysterious words in her heart. Rather than becoming student/disciple of one of the top rabbis in the Temple, Jesus, in obedience to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, returns to Galilee to grow in the fullness of stature of manhood.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by the 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple: Person of the Trinity, with Divine Knowledge, Jesus is the Creator of all knowledge, including the small portion of knowledge the rabbis in the Temple understand; in His Human Nature, Jesus has, even at an early age, developed profound Human Knowledge, surpassing the most learned men on earth; with Divine Presence and human Charisma, Jesus captivates and amazes highly educated adult Jewish men for three days. 

Be obedient to God’s call to headship

Realize: Despite the recent efforts to undermine the importance of men, God the Father’s plan for humanity has always been built on the leadership of men (patriarchy): God calls Joseph to be the earthly father of Jesus; Jesus chooses and forms 12 men to be His Apostles; Jesus appoints Peter and successive popes to lead His Kingdom on Earth; Jesus establishes the male priesthood. 

 Believe: Reflect upon God’s deliberate Plan of Patriarchy (CCC 261-267, 1297, 1312, 1577, 2214, 2571).

Pray: Almighty and Most Gracious Father, help me build the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so I willingly submit to, and actively support, Your deliberate plan for men to be sacrificial leaders in the Church, in families, and in society.

Imitate the sacrificial headship of St. Joseph

Realize: God’s plan for men to be the leaders of their families is confirmed by God’s choosing of St. Joseph to be the head of the Holy Family, the first Domestic Church, the smallest part of the Church Militant, one of the three parts of the Church (Church Militant – the Church on earth; Church Penitent – Purgatory; Church Triumphant – Heaven). 

Believe: Reflect upon the Domestic Church Militant (CCC 954, 962, 1655-1658, 1666, 2204, 2210, 2685).

Pray: St. Joseph, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Duty/Responsibility (a part of Justice) so I can lead, provide for, and protect my family, and I willingly sacrifice my selfish desires for the good of my wife and children.