He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter's shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.

He never had a family or owned a house. He did not go to college. He never had visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself. He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him.

His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. While he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind's progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as that one solitary life.

What could come out of Nazareth? Nazareth is a mystery of humble hiddenness. Those thirty years are wrapped in anonymity. Jesus was regarded as being just an ordinary person. No one recognized Jesus. No one saw in him Divinity, Incarnate nor the God-man. He was taken for granted. He was referred to almost derisively as being "the carpenter's son."

Does this teach us that if we look for God in spectacular places, we shall discover him out rarely, if at all? But if we seek him in ordinariness, there will hardly be a moment when we will not encounter him.

Thirty years of hiddenness. Just three short years of public ministry. How overwhelmingly disproportionate! When there was a whole world waiting to be saved, why did Jesus "waste" so much time? When time was fast running out, why did he spend such a large period of his life apparently doing nothing? Do the choices and options of Jesus have something to say to us? 


Taken from the spiritual presentation of Fr. Paulson Mundanmani on September 15, 2003, at the FCC School of Leaders session at St. Mary's Church in Oakland, California.

Thank God for what you have, Trust God for what you need. God always gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.