Saint Stanislaus Kostka – Readings

Commentary on 2 Peter 1:2-4,10-11; Ps 121; Luke 2:41-50

The Gospel reading is the story from Luke of Jesus as a young boy staying on in the Temple at Jerusalem. We are told that Jesus’ parents used to go to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Passover.
When Jesus was 12, the year when a Jewish boy was regarded as entering adulthood and subject to the Law, he went with Mary and Joseph as usual on their annual pilgrimage. But, on their way back to Nazareth, Jesus, unknown to his parents, stayed behind in the city. Presuming he was with other members of what was probably a large party of relatives and neighbours, Mary and Joseph continued for a day without seeing him.
But then they became worried and returned to the city to look for him. To lose a young boy in a large city at any time would be a source of great anxiety to parents but, during the Passover, when Jerusalem would be full of strangers from all over, it could be even more worrying. Anything could happen to him.
It was only on the third day that they came across him in the Temple where he was sitting among the teachers of the Law, listening to them and asking them questions. They were amazed at his intelligence and at the answers he gave to their questions. Mary and Joseph, naturally, were astonished to see him in such company.
But they were also upset. Mary asked her Son, “Why did you do this to us? Your father and I have been worried to death looking for you.” But Jesus made no apology for his behaviour: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But Mary and Joseph did not understand the meaning of his words. Did they not notice the two uses of the word ‘father’ – “Your father and I…” and “my Father’s house”?
Jesus’ life had reached a watershed. He was passing from the care of Mary and his foster father and moving into his calling as the Son of a higher Father. He will, of course, go home with them and become an obedient son in the family. But a warning has been given and, later on, he will leave his home for the last time to begin his official work.
Obviously, the Gospel has been chosen with the life of Stanislaus in mind. He, too, left home to answer a higher calling in spite of the wishes of his family. He, too, was called to do his Father’s business. Later, during his public life, Jesus will say that his calling takes precedence over all other relationships. “If you love father and mother more than me, you are not worthy of me.” The following of Jesus always has to be unconditional.
It does not involve neglect of parents but rather loving them in another way. 

The First Reading is from the opening verses of the Second Letter of Peter. There is a prayer for those receiving the letter that “the grace of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ be yours and peace in abundance through your knowledge of God and of Jesus, our Lord”.
The writer goes on to say that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for a life of genuine holiness, “through knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power”. Through these divine blessings “you who have fled a world corrupted by lust might become sharers of the divine nature”. As one commentary puts it:

Christian life in its fullness is a gift of divine power to those who are called. This power effects in them a knowledge of Christ and fulfils the divine promises in their regard, making them sharers of the divine nature, safe from a world corrupted by lust.

The writer then urges his readers to make their vocation and call from God permanent, to avoid being lost forever. On the contrary, loyalty to one’s call will guarantee “your entry into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour”.
Stanislaus came from a rich and noble family. Wealth and power were his for the asking. But he heard a different call and he followed it, in spite of the opposition of his family members. Like his beloved Jesus, he heard a call to be in his “Father’s house”. He could not do otherwise than answer it. His choice was perhaps confirmed, when his brother, who had opposed his vocation so much, himself followed the same path late in life.

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