Good to be reminded.
Our Deacon today (guest Deacon, Colombian) talked about this Gospel this afternoon and drew out some very interesting point that are hard to explain in English. Then he said the key to a holy family is the Sacrament of Matrimony, and harangued the congregation about the need for parents to get married!
Father, who doesn’t understand Spanish, was surprised when the congregation broke into enthusiastic applause. I was a little surprised, too ... but in the past, when our regular Deacon (spending the holidays in Puerto Rico, lucky man) has preached rather sternly about the people’s duty to get married, get their children baptised, go to Confession, and take their Christian lives seriously, it’s been well-received.
Today's Gospel : Luke 2:41-52
Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a days journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.
Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, My child, why have, you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you. Why were you looking for me? he replied Did you not know that I must be busy with my Fathers affairs? But they did not understand what he meant.
He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.
THEOPHYL; But some one will ask, how was it that the Son of God, brought up by His parents with such care, could be left behind from forgetfulness? To which it is answered, that the custom of the children of Israel while assembling at Jerusalem on the feast days, or returning to their homes, was for the women and men to go separately, and the infants or children to go with either parent indiscriminately. And so both Mary and Joseph each thought in turn that the Child Jesus, whom they saw not with them, was returning with the other parent.
Have you ever lost a child in a crowd? Have you ever thought that your spouse was doing something while your spouse thought you were doing the same thing? There is a case for some communications training.
The Holy Family was not without it's faults. They were only human. When they traveled with their families back to Nazareth they assumed all is well. Then they realized he was gone. Like any good parent would do, they backtracked and found Jesus three days later. THREE DAYS! (My wife and I would be a mess). But they found him in the temple busy with his "Father's affairs". Mary was struck and kept the event in her heart. I'm sure she contemplated it over and over again as Jesus grew.
When I pray this mystery of finding Jesus at the temple, the intention is always toward my children. That they be safe, and grow wise, eventually doing God's will in their life. I identify each child with a trait of Jesus and ask for their blessing. After all we are only humans trying to be holy.