The Needy God-Baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph in a Wholly Human Holy Family
Through him, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, all things came into being.
God the Son came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
Consequently, for our sake God was a needy baby.
God needed to breastfeed, otherwise he would not be able to stay alive and grow.
True God needed to urinate and defecate, and afterwards he needed someone to clean him.
God needed to have clothes, and furthermore he needed someone to put them on him.
He needed sleep and likewise a place to sleep.
God the Light needed a mother’s touch and a father’s embrace, because this enables emotional health and growth.
Circumcision cut true God’s true body, and therefore he needed to heal.
He needed someone who could carry him to safety, because Herod wanted and was able to kill him.
God needed weaning from the breast.
Accordingly, he needed to accustom himself to solid food.
God needed someone to grow or buy food for him, prepare it and feed it to him.
In short, he was like us in all things but sin [Cf. Hebrews 4:15].
He had feelings and emotional needs.
One day, because people stared to see if he would break the Sabbath by working a healing, “he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart” [Mark 3:5].
On occasion he needed to mourn what saddened him. “Jesus wept” [John 11:35].
“Jesus rejoiced” [Luke 10:21].He agonized in prayer, asking to be spared the fearsome suffering and death that were coming his way [Luke 22:42-44].
And what about his human mother?
Remaining a virgin, she ovulated, and she conceived, with the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the absence of bodily seed from a human male.
Monthly ovulation means she also menstruated and needed to tend that normal, human, female, bodily function.
And God’s earthly foster father, Joseph?
The Gospels tell us nothing more about Joseph after he found the missing twelve-year-old Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple.
Perhaps Joseph died before Jesus reached his thirties and began his public ministry.
But how did Joseph die, and under what circumstances?
If he had died from some act of violence, perhaps the Gospels would have bothered to mention it. However, they did not.
So did Joseph die a natural death?
Did a stroke disable him, leaving him needy, requiring care for months or years?
Cancer? Heart attack? Did he die prematurely? Or did he die only after a ripe old age? Did he age and develop Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia?
All those situations are possible.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We honor them with the title “The Holy Family,” but let us be careful not to dishonor the reality of their humanity and its real needs.
They were a wholly human and holy family.
And again, Jesus was like us in all things but sin.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us,
for we are needy as you once were.
Dear Readers of “Turn. Love. Repeat.”
California where I reside had a new law go into effect on January 1, 2020. California Assembly Bill 5 forbids freelance writers, editors and photographers from providing more than 35 content submissions to a media organization per year unless the organization hires the freelancer as a salaried employee. Patheos is a media organization, and I am a freelancer. So now I must limit my posts to 35 per year, or 1 post about every 10 days. So as not to exceed my limit here at Patheos, I will post my “extra” pieces at my own blog, Monk Notes.