Pope Francis describes insights into the youth and young adulthood of Jesus in his new post-synodal apostolic exhortation. The document, dedicated to the young, is titled “Christus vivit,” or Christ Is Alive.
Check out the pope’s insights into Jesus’ life as a boy and young man:
Full and fulfilling relationships with others
It must not be thought that Jesus was a withdrawn adolescent or a self-absorbed youth. His relationships were those of a young person who shared fully in the life of his family and his people. He learned his father’s trade and then replaced him as a carpenter.
A normal kid
He was just another young person of his town, who related normally to others. No one regarded him as unusual or set apart from others. For this very reason, once Jesus began to preach, people could not imagine where he got this wisdom: “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Lk 4:22).
No helicopter parents here
In fact, “Jesus did not grow up in a narrow and stifling relationship with Mary and Joseph, but readily interacted with the wider family, the relatives of his parents and their friends”.[Amoris Laetitia] Hence we can understand why, when he returned from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, his parents readily thought that, as a 12-year-old boy (cf. Lk 2:42), he was wandering freely among the crowd, even though they did not see him for an entire day: “supposing him to be in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey” (Lk 2:44).
Joking, listening, sharing … free
Surely, they assumed, Jesus was there, mingling with the others, joking with other young people, listening to the adults tell stories and sharing the joys and sorrows of the group. Indeed, the Greek word that Luke uses to describe the group – synodía – clearly evokes a larger “community on journey” of which the Holy Family is a part. Thanks to the trust of his parents, Jesus can move freely and learn to journey with others.
What is Jesus doing in the tabernacle? The Bible’s answer