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Friday of Lent 4

And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written … Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. — Luke 4:17, 20

Up until now, we have meditated upon the lack which our Lord suffered in regard to daily bread. However, it behooves us to see how God the Father provided daily bread to Jesus in His time of humiliation so that He might accomplish our salvation.

We take literacy for granted. But scholars suggest that ancient literacy levels were about 10–15 percent, and much lower in rural areas. So, how then could Jesus read? Christ wasn’t just literate because He was God. Scripture tells us our Lord’s human nature actually learned. Because Christ’s divine knowledge remained quiescent to the extent that His redemptive office made such quiescence necessary.

How did Christ learn? His family wasn’t wealthy and couldn’t send Him for normal rabbi studies (John 7:15). The Scriptures are silent on the technical points, we know that Mary and Joseph provided this education for Jesus. Whether they scrimped and saved in order to pay a tutor or whether Mary’s priestly relatives taught Jesus, we do not know. Whatever the case, He learned to read the Scriptures, which was necessary for His prophetic office.

Christ preached with authority because He is God. But He learned His letters just like the rest of us. Education is daily bread. It gives us the tools to survive and to thrive in this world. But more importantly, education gives us the means to read the Sacred Scriptures, by which we are made wise unto salvation.

Lord Jesus Christ, You grew in knowledge, wisdom, and favor. Bless those who teach, especially those who teach us the Sacred Scriptures. Give our sons the ability to read Holy Writ, so that one day they may be called into Your service as pastors or as breadwinners for their families. Make our daughters wise, so that they might be good wives to their husbands. Above all, teach us contrition and faith through Your Word. Amen.

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