1 John 2:12-17
The last sentence in today’s gospel invites us to use our imagination. What was it like to watch Jesus grow? Did he play in a sandbox? Did he play catch with other children? Did he draw? Did he tell jokes or riddles? I know he didn’t have a toy truck or toy train. Maybe Joseph made him little carts and wagons, or statues of sheep and goats to play with
Did Mary tell him bedtime stories? I wonder if she sang to him. And what did they do for school in those days?
Our gospel says Jesus was filled with wisdom. He must have studied the Scriptures. He must have prayed with Mary and Joseph. They must have discussed the law and the prophets.
I presume Joseph taught him carpentry. I wonder if Mary taught him how to cook?
And when he was a teenager, what were his hopes and dreams? Did he ever fall in love? Where did he learn how to preach?
In chapter 17 of John’s Gospel we have Jesus’ prayer to his Father at the Last Supper. Imagine what his prayer was like when he was ten years old, or twenty? He must have been a master listener in prayer, for his adult years were so focused on doing his Father’s will.
It is good to let our imaginations wander and wonder. Yes, Jesus ate and drank, laughed and played, worked and slept, studied and prayed… He experienced all the ordinary human activities that we experience. That means that, when we come before our God to ask, to beg, to thank and to praise, we don’t have to explain ourselves. We can feel confident that our God knows what we are talking about. He has been here before us. He knows what it is like to be one of us. Jesus was like us in all things but sin.
If God knows human life so thoroughly, perhaps we should spend less time talking and more time listening when we pray.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/