I am looking forward to gathering with about 150 others on March 10, 2016 to preview a new movie that supposes what Jesus may have been like as a seven year old.
(If you are reading this post prior to this date, you can check for information on joining us at:
After that date, just look for the resources linked towards the end of this post.)
As the Gospel of Matthew chapter two ends, after hearing about the magi visiting baby Jesus, we read that Joseph received a dream that it was safe to return "home" so they set out from Eqypt to Nazareth. Then chapter three begins with John the Baptist preaching in the desert and Jesus approaching as a man.
What happened in between?
Luke adds one story of Jesus at age 12 preaching in the temple. Then, only these words before he appears before John the Baptist:
51 He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man
Mark and John do not even discuss Jesus as a child.
So, what are we to think about Jesus and a child and a teen?
The Holy Spirit leaves that to us I suppose as the Church focuses on the importance of in incarnation (God becoming man as a boy born in Bethlehem), Jesus' ministry, and the Pascal Mystery.
But as humans, we may just wonder about the in between time....
Anne Rice did when she wrote the book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.
And now the book has been adapted as a movie entitled "The Young Messiah."
They describe it as follows:
Remaining true to the character of Jesus revealed in the Bible, The Young Messiah film is an inspirational story about the childhood of the Savior for the whole family.
When the mystery of Jesus’s divinity begins to unfold in His early years, He turns to His parents for answers. But Mary and Joseph, in an effort to protect their child, are afraid to reveal all they know. How do you explain the ways of the world to its Creator? How do you teach the Teacher? How do you help the Savior who came to save you?
Follow the young Messiah as He and His family take the dangerous journey from Egypt to Nazareth and on to Jerusalem—where His true identity and profound destiny are revealed.
I look forward to seeing what someone envisioned this time of growth, discovery, anguish, joy, family-time, relationships, and faith for Jesus. It will be interesting to see how someone imaged Mary and Joseph as parents.
I pray that the movie deepens an appreciation for the Holy Family and the wonder and awe for each family members acceptance of God's plan for their lives.
If it is done as well as I hear it is, we may be recommending that youth groups and/or families with teens get out to see the movie. There are already discussion guides available for your use at the parish or to share with families for home-catechesis.
Catholic Youth Study Guide/Lesson Plans:
Catholic Study Guide for Families with Youth
Discussion Guide (for adults)
Perhaps more will be added by the promotional company:
Even if you do not see this movie, it can be fun to pull some of the scripture reflections and discussion questions out for use in your youth and family ministry programs.
Lenten blessings to you as you reflect on Jesus in your own life.
May you continue to claim him as messiah (young or old or ageless!)
Cindee Case, MAPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.