Introducing the Thirty-Year-Old

We hear the same gospel reading at Mass today and two weeks from Sunday.

The weekdays of Epiphanytide and the first Sundays of the year present us with similar gospel readings, because these liturgical days have similar goals: namely, to present to us the Christ, grown now to the fullness of manhood, emerging from the quiet hidden-ness of His life in Nazareth into the view of the world, ready to begin His decisive work.

El Greco ChristWhat do we see when we behold Jesus Christ at age thirty?

We see a man of robust health, familiar with hard manual labor. A man of study and piety, intimately versed in the ancient Scriptures and all the prayers of Israel. A man with many friends, who has interacted widely with all His kith and kin throughout the region. He seems comfortable and familiar in all situations and settings.

He stands tall; gazes with serene eyes; speaks softly, clearly, and with commanding authority; His heart courses with tenderness and affection for every humble soul He encounters; towards the proud and hypocritical, He casts a steely eye of truly frightening penetration.

We see a man whose presence communicates promise, hope for the future, openness to the unfolding good which lies in the bosom of the provident Father above. In the presence of this thirty-year-old Nazarene, we feel: Something beautiful—something absolutely delightful—will soon come into view.

Above all this, we see one other quality that this man has, His most mysterious quality: An interior guiding light, which no one else sees, directs Him. He moves as a man upon whom a mission has been laid. His zeal to fulfill it consumes Him like an unquenchable fire.

He loves the hills, the sea, the city, the synagogue, His cousins, His friends. No one could be more comfortable and at-home in the places he frequents than the thirty-year-old Christ is.

But all of it—all of it—He will sacrifice in a second for the sake of fulfilling His mission. He will turn His back on all earthly light and step into the deepest darkness, if that’s what it takes to fulfill the will of the Father.

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