Homilies on Luke: Fragments on Luke

By Joseph T. Lienhard; Origen | Go to book overview
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HOMILY 18 Luke 2.40-49

On the passage from, "But the boy grew and was strengthened," up to the point where it says, "Do you not know that I should be in my Father's house?"

JESUS MY LORD has been born. His parents have gone up to Jerusalem to fulfill what was commanded in the law. They went to offer "a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons"1. for him. Simeon held him in his arms, as was read earlier. He prophesied about him those things that the narrative relates. After everything was accomplished in the traditional way, his parents returned. How old was Jesus then? Certainly he was still but a small child. Yet "he grew and was strengthened, and he was filled with wisdom" and grace.2. He had not yet completed the forty days of purification, nor had he come to Nazareth, but he was already receiving full wisdom. Scripture could say, "He grew and was strengthened, and he received the Spirit."3. "He had emptied himself by taking the form of a slave."4. But, as soon as a sacrifice was offered for his purification, he filled up what he had emptied out. It was not his body that was made greater at that moment. Something more sacred is manifested when Scripture reports, "The boy grew and was strengthened, and was filled with wisdom."5.

2. Let us find out whether Scripture says of a small child, "he grew and was strengthened," anywhere else. By comparing many instances, we can understand what more is being said about our Lord. We read about John, "but the boy grew and

____________________
1.
Lk 2.24.
2.
Lk 2.40.
3.
Origen adds to Lk 2.40 a phrase from Lk 1.80.
4.
Phil 2.7.
5.
Lk 2.40.

-76-

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