The mystery of the 30 hidden years of Christ’s life

Through the Gospel, we only know very little of what is referred to as the “hidden life” of Jesus in Nazareth, a period of about thirty of the thirty-three years of the Savior of humanity’s life on earth. The Gospel according to Saint Luke gives us most information on this part of Christ’s life, principally relating to his childhood: And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and with people. (Luke 2: 52). Jesus therefore enjoyed a loving childhood with Mary and Joseph that was characterized by gentleness, humility and obedience.

The events that happened between Jesus’ childhood and his ‘mature years’ (his thirties) are partly known from what is indirectly implied by Scripture, but mostly from the collection of writings and testimonies of Church Tradition together with those of the saints and learned Christian authorities. We can discover from these writings is that, first of all - before setting out on the roads of Galilee to preach the message of divine mission - Jesus led with his family the life of a pious and hard-working Jewish family at Nazareth in Galilee. The son of a carpenter, trained by his father, Jesus practiced Himself this craft for several years. He followed the customs and precepts of the Jewish religion attending the synagogue with other believers of his time.

Thus, during nine tenths of his life on earth, Christ - the Word made Flesh, God Himself and Lord of the Universe - lived a life of holiness as an obedient son, working with his hands and sheltered from the gaze of the world. Pope Paul VI saw this hidden life within the Holy Family as a time of real ‘Gospel schooling.' Is not the humble life of the Holy Family at Nazareth for all Christians effectively a school for spiritual preparation for everyday life? A school for learning a humble and loving life, of which the Master is none other than God himself made man?....