Father Peter Clarke

From the Diocese of Bridgetown

Wasted Time - Thirty Years In The Life Of Jesus: A Reflection By Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P.

Wasted Time - Thirty Years In The Life Of Jesus: A Reflection                                By Fr. Peter Clarke, O.P.
An ordinary carpenter


How did Jesus spend His life? After all, besides being the Son of Mary He was the Son God. He was making this world, our world, His very own! To tell the truth, during most of His life of about 34 years He did nothing out of the ordinary. For about 30 of those years He fitted into the life of the people of Nazareth.

As a child He would have played games and have received the same kind of instruction as those of His age-group. A time would surely have comewhen He would have done something to earn a living - perhaps helping in Joseph's carpentry shop, perhaps He grew and sold vegetables.Becoming a young man, He would have mixed with the men about town.

In other words, His life would have been very ordinary. Since He was truly God we can be certain there was nothing sinful about Him. But we can be sure that He didn't wear a halo as He walked the streets of Nazareth. There's no need to assume that because He was the Son of God He dominated every conversation and expected to get His way whenever a decision had to be made. His friends and relatives probably would not have been inclined to show Him any special respect. They would not have thought He was any better than they were.

When we reflect on the three years of the ministry of Jesus they were in many ways spectacular, even sensational, with His various miracles - healing the sick, raising the dead to life, feeding multitudes, calming storm. Even now not marvel at how instructive areHis teaching and preaching. During those three years there was something about Jesus that caused people to swarm around Him. They couldn't get enough of Him. They came to expect so much of Him - all the time. He influenced the lives of so many.

In terms of time only a small fraction of the life of Jesus was exceptional -out of the ordinary – that of the Infancy Narratives – 3 years of public ministry, thatfrom His Passion to Ascension into Glory. The balance – 30 years – was scarcely more than typical growth into manhood. It would seem the Son ofGod, Jesus, went underground - He merged with the 'grass roots' of society, of family and local ommunity. He confined Himself to the people of Nazareth and its surroundings.

The Son of God, the Son of Man, spend most of His life on earth in this restricted enveronment of family and neighbourhood. He wanted to endorsethe supreme value of the family as the basic unit of human society. He displayed the beauty, possibility, even the necessity, of being godly in our being together, living,working, enjoying ourselves together.Dare we say society stands or crumbles to the extent that we we catch the significance of these thirty years of the life of Jesus

These were not wasted years, opportunities lost for making a spectacular impression of the history of mankind. When God becomes involved Ordinary Time becomes Sacred Time; the trivial and transient assumes an eternal value.That was true for Jesus; that can be true for us!

What a difference it would make if in our own personalOrdinary Time we made the words of Jesus our Watch-Word, "I have loved you just as the Father has love me....love one another as I have loved you,"Jn. 15)!

Peter Clarke, OP

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