of the patriarchs,” and acquires
of Israel’s birthright”).
presentation of Jesus in the temple
shows him to be the
firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord.
With Simeon and Anna,
all Israel awaits its
with the Savior—the name given to
this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the
long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of
Israel,” but also “a sign that is spoken against.” The sword of
sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique
oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “pre-
pared in the presence of all peoples.”
flight into Egypt
and the massacre of the innocents
make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to
his own home, and his own people received him not.”
whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share
it with him.
Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and
presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people.
The mysteries of Jesus’ hidden life
During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condi-
tion of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without
evident greatness, a life of manual labor. His religious life was that
of a Jew obedient to the law of God,
a life in the community.
From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was “obedi-
ent” to his parents and that he “increased in wisdom and in stature,
and in favor with God and man.”
Jesus’ obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the
fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his
filial obedience to his Father in heaven. The everyday obedience of
Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the
obedience of Holy Thursday: “Not my will. . . .”
of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugu
215 St. Leo the Great,
Sermo 3 in epiphania Domini
1-3,5: PL 54, 242;
; Roman Missal,
Easter Vigil 26, Prayer after the third reading.