By: Rick Hernandez
I often meditate on the hidden life of Christ Jesus. I close my eyes and wonder how were those first 30 years of His life in this world. If we try, we can visualize Jesus, the son of Mary, living in the household of Joseph, first as a young child doing young child things, and then later, as a young man doing young man things... How was the daily life of Jesus? I imagine it would not have been too different from ours today.
The child Jesus probably learned to read and write Aramaic at home, then probably went to school at the synagogue, where he heard the teachers read and teach from the Torah. I wonder if he liked school and if he was a good and diligent student. After school, he would go home, and I can imagine Mother Mary asking Him to help around the house. Did he carry water by Mary’s side? I can “see” Him doing that… and when Jesus was done helping with the household tasks, He probably asked to go play with His neighborhood friends. I can imagine simple fun and games played all-out with much laughter, simple little things.
Later on, Jesus grew to become a young man. “And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man” (Luke 2:52). With more age and experience, I can imagine that He had more responsibilities. We know He was a carpenter. How did He learn the trade? I can imagine Jesus helping Joseph with his carpentry tasks. That would be what we call an apprenticeship, on-the-job training. Yes, small tasks preparing Him for bigger tasks. Once done with work, I assume that he would sweep the floors of their humble workplace as most apprentices. Can you see Jesus going back home to help bake bread or carry more water? Of course. He must have done all of these ordinary things. Imagine. This was the Son of God incarnate! He was tasked with the work of redemption, the most significant and important work of all time. Yet, our Lord Jesus had to do all of these simple little human things... But is not God about the big important things?
If we can interpret this image of Jesus in his early life, we can answer that question. Many of the everyday things that we did as children in our own homes, Jesus also did. Christ Jesus, all human and all divine, did all of these simple everyday things with perfect humility, perfect faith, and perfect love. Why is that? It is because He understood that all of what we do, and how we do it, matters. The little things we have to do prepare us for the bigger things that are to come.
Our thoughts and actions are our contribution to our family, the world, and the Kingdom of Heaven. Those simple things we often dismiss, Jesus, sanctified and offered to the Father. With our lives, Honor our parents! Love God and neighbor! Our lives are our offering. Like Jesus, we must become aware that both the mundane and the ordinary are part of our faithful offering to the One who loves us.
All actions have great value for God, big and small if we align them to His will for us.
But we are human, and we tend to keep our eye on the “big things”. “Go big or go home” is often said. We want our action’s value to be readily apparent for all to see.
If we think about it, we can definitively understand that every big and important task is a collection of many little jobs. When we focus on the big things and how there is so much to do, we may be tempted to take shortcuts and skip on the little things, but really, is that wise? Aren’t we then veering from the script and missing on an opportunity for a sanctifying offering? “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones, and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” (Luke 16:10).
For us, the faithful, our sanctifying offering is in what is in front of us. Our offering is in every little action, at this moment that we have, now. We call it the gift of the “Present Moment”. Those actions that we take, and our intent, do direct our lives. Let us become aware of what is our intention and what is our desire. Are they aligned to God’s will?
When we align our will to the Father’s, the little actions that we take in faith and love prepare us, in hope, for the big ones that may be required from us. At the end of the day, is our offering that we have acted justly? Have we loved as much as we could? Have we cared enough? Is our offering that we have been faithful in all things, big and small? What will we say when we are asked to give an account for our time? Remember that it is in the little things... that we show faith.
Let us pray: Lord, you knew me perfectly even before I was in my mother’s womb. You know what my right-hand does as well as my left. From You, I cannot hide. I humbly offer you all that I am, and all that I do, with my successes and struggles, in faith and love, in the hope for the grace needed to find You in all things and guide more people towards You who loves us so much. Help me to be as your hands in this world. Amen.