Gospel LK 2:41-52
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor
before God and man.
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, come by the means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thy well beloved Spouse. Amen
“They did not understand what He said to them”
On this beautiful Feast of the Holy Family, we are given a very tangible image of the humanity of family life in the Holy Family. We are looking at one moment in their lives, through the lens of suffering, and we can see and feel their pain. It is interesting that this Gospel passage is so close to the Solemnity of Our Lord’s Birth. Perhaps it is to help ground us, that they are not aloof and above it all, they are close to us and they understand our joys and sorrows, they too have known them.
“They did not understand what He said to them.” How many of us, do not understand what the Lord is saying to us through a job loss, sickness, misunderstandings or in a great suffering. We find it difficult to understand what the Lord is saying and doing at a particular moment and we suffer. This pain produces a certain amount of ‘solitude’ of soul. In our culture ‘Solitude’ is seen as a ‘vast barren land’ to be greatly avoided. But Solitude and Silence can produce a most exquisite fruit. if the solitude draws us into the burning Heart of Jesus, It produces Docility and an intense Thirst to open one’s heart to His creative action even though one does not understand all the pieces. This Docility is born from ‘resting in Him’, from opening one’s heart with greater vulnerability and trust and love and allowing Him to have His way with us- (Faith). This solitude then in Christ, becomes Peace, because He can lead us freely, as we do not demand explanations, but rather like a child, allow ourselves to be led. Solitude in itself can be ‘sterile’ if we remain turning in on ourselves, but solitude that draws us into God is deeply fruitful.
Mother Teresa told us as young sisters, suffering will come the closer we journey with Jesus, but I have a choice, I can choose what I do with it; it can make me either “Bitter” or “Better”, there is only one letter different in those two words, the letter “I”. I make the difference. What is your choice? When suffering comes, will you run away from yourself and from others and numb the pain by food, drink, movies, games etc? Or will you run ‘into yourself’ trying to comfort yourself, Mother called it talking to oneself in the chapel when the Divine Physician is right there who can heal us. Or…will you run to the heart of Jesus and pour your heart out and listen to His Words and wait on Him and allow oneself to be led by the Lord in the midst of the pain as He has done through scriptures since the beginning? This is called Faith.
“We only have this lifetime to live by Faith” (St Therese)