The Gospel accounts record in written History, and recount most elegantly, the countless things  which were said by Jesus and what He did in His years of public Ministry. Nonetheless, we hear very little about the life of Christ on earth between His infant years to the age of thirty when He began His public Ministry. Of the words of Mother Mary, and the life of St. Joseph, even less is spoken about. These years and moments that are veiled in virtual anonymity and obscurity, hidden away from public scrutiny, and largely silent, because little has been written about them, may hold the clue as to how we too may live our lives and sanctify every moment of our existence.

If anything should resound, these hidden years, quiet and silent in the Gospel texts, are loaded with a richness, and a mystery for us to unpack. We read of the infancy narratives of Jesus, we come to understand His genealogy, but aside from the recount of His disappearing from His parents to preach in the temple at the age of 12, we know very little of the earthly life of Christ. One thing that we do know and which is extremely important is this: Jesus was obedient to His parents, and He “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” (Luke 2:51-52) This obedience  is important for our own Christian lives – in this quiet obedience, Jesus was being prepared for and was already beginning His mission to redeem humanity from sin (see CCC. 514, 532, 534). The key here is that obedience and docility are important virtues in the Christian life. Christ’s own obedience and submission would culminate in His submission to the Will of God our Father on the cross (see Luke 22:42) and which serves as an atonement for our disobedience (see Romans 5:19).

It must be significant that Jesus was immersed in humble toil for thirty years before His public Ministry.

The hidden life of Christ gives us hint of how Jesus lived in humility, and how He attended faithfully to His family and professional duties as he worked under the tutelage of St. Joseph as a carpenter, and how like His mother, these work hours, and the years of ordinary, humble living, were interwoven very closely with prayer and contemplation – “…and His mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:52). We take our cue from the Lord, for in similar fashion, we are called to carry out our responsibilities in a way that is mindful, filled with thanksgiving, and cognizant of every opportunity to sanctify our family and even the most mundane of our activities in humble trust and great faith in the Lord.  (see CCC. 517, 533, 1115)

By the Grace of God,

Brian Bartholomew Tan


Catechism of the Catholic Church