I’ve always liked the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph because for me it dramatizes how fully the Holy Family and Jesus himself entered into the religious practices of ordinary Jews of their time. Like all devout Jewish families, Mary and Joseph brought their son to the temple to be offered to the Lord. In their family observance of the prescribed religious practices of their religion, the Holy Family becomes a model for families today for practicing faith. We need this reminder.
And we are reminded of a truth about Jesus we sometimes may tend to forget: in His human nature, Jesus is like us! We are reminded that Jesus is our high priest interceding for us to God. He became like his brothers and sisters (us!) in every way. So like us, Jesus suffered and was tested and “because he himself was tested through what He suffered,” He is able to help those who are being tested. We may too often assume that since Jesus was “fully divine”—and not only “fully human”—He must have been spared from sharing fully in the human condition. We assume falsely that His divine nature kept Him from experiencing fully our human emotions and our human joys and suffering. But not so.
In recent years, the Church has been reiterating the truth of Jesus’ full humanity. Take this statement from the Second Vatican Council for example:
“For by his Incarnation, the son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice, and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.“
We Christians have the immense consolation of knowing that when we bring our trials and tribulations to Jesus, He fully understands: “He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.”