Mary and Joseph: Educators of Jesus
Although occurring by the work of the Holy Spirit and a Virgin Mother, the birth of Jesus, like that of all human beings, went through the phases of conception, gestation and delivery. In addition, Mary’s motherhood was not limited to the biological process of giving birth, but as it happens with every other mother, she also made an essential contribution to her son’s growth and development.
A mother is not only a woman who gives birth to a child, but one who brings him up and teaches him; indeed, we might well say that, according to God’s plan, the educational task is the natural extension of procreation.
Mary is the Theotokos, not only because she conceived and gave birth to the Son of God, but also because she accompanied him in his human growth.
We might think that, since Jesus possessed in himself the fullness of divinity, he had no need of teachers. But the mystery of the Incarnation reveals to us that the Son of God came into the world in a human condition similar to us in all things except sin (cf. Heb 4:15). As is the case with every human being, Jesus’ growth, from infancy to adulthood (cf. Lk 2:40), also needed his parents’ educational activity.
The Gospel of Luke, particularly attentive to the childhood period, says that at Nazareth Jesus was obedient to Joseph and Mary (cf. Lk 2:51). This dependence shows us that Jesus was receptive, open to the teaching of his mother and Joseph, who also carried out their task by virtue of the docility he constantly showed. (…)
Along with Mary’s motherly presence, Jesus could count on the paternal figure of Joseph, a just man (cf. Mt 1:19), who provided the necessary balance in the educational activity. Carrying out his role as father, Joseph co operated with his wife in making the home in Nazareth an environment favourable to the growth and personal maturity of the Saviour of humanity. By later introducing him to the hard work of the carpenter, Joseph enabled Jesus to be involved in the world of work and social life.
The importance of the Virgin Mother’s task remains: from his infancy to adulthood, she helped her Son Jesus to grow “in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man” (Lk 2:52), and to prepare for his mission.
Mary and Joseph can therefore be seen as models for all educators. They sustain them in the great difficulties that the family encounters today, and show them the way to their children’s precise and effective formation.
Their educational experience is a sure reference point for Christian parents who are called, in ever more complex and difficult conditions, to devote themselves to the service of the integral development of their children’s personality, so that they will live lives worthy of man and corresponding to God’s plan.
From: A Moment with Mary