What your writers had to say about "Jesus' Perplexed Parents" [Dec. 11] is true; but I would add two points.

I used to wonder how the Omniscient One could be confused (as in Mark 5:30-32) until I realized that, in order to be "tested in every way, yet without sin," his human understanding (as opposed to his divine wisdom) had to be capable of making mistakes. The God-man couldn't sin or be mistaken about theological truths, but I believe he allowed himself to make prudential mistakes in order to teach us two things: that it's not a sin to goof up or to admit that we need guidance.

So Mary's intelligent, strong-willed son could argue with her at the temple (Luke 2) and at Cana (John 2), but he also followed her wishes. Even when he was an adult, Mary was still his mother. As for Joseph, he gave his stepson training in how to be a man as well as how to be a carpenter. And notice that Joseph, the poor carpenter who could only afford to sacrifice pigeons at the temple, is called "Son of David" before his stepson is (Matt. 1), because it is he who is the direct descendant of King David.

- Don Schenk

Allentown, Pa.

One of my best presents this year--or any year: Wendy Murray Zoba's essay on the pierced soul of Mary. I had already been thinking of Mary: the only person present at both the birth and death of the Savior of the world, her son. Too privileged and too tragic for me to comprehend.

Then the essay came, and I could relate once more. Motherhood: joy, anxiety, frustration, discouragement, confusion, loyalty, perseverance, peace. What appeared to be rude behavior was in reality only what a loving and brilliant Jesus could design: the painful transition from her human son to her eternal Redeemer.

- Nancy Boothe

Wichita, Kans.

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