A missing child is a parent’s worst nightmare, often resulting in panic leading to a frantic search. It would have been the same for Mary and Joseph, as they frantically searched for Jesus, which would then be followed by the relief of discovering him in the Temple. His mother knew that there was something special about this boy, just as the teachers in the Temple knew. Later he indeed becomes a teacher above all teachers. Rabbi Jesus who notices the poor woman who put a penny in the basket…worth more than all the rich peoples’ offerings; Rabbi Jesus who threw the stall-keepers out of the temple.


The Gospel says very openly that Mary and Joseph did not understand their son’s reply. Many parents of today’s teenagers face this same lack of understanding. When we look at the situation presented in the Gospel, isn’t it consoling that even Mary, our Mother did not understand everything fully? We so often do not understand why painful events happen in our lives. Like Mary, we can ask: Why? Where is God in this event? Once again like Mary, we may not understand the answer. However, Jesus goes with us, just as he went home with Mary and Joseph. Learning from Mary, our Mother, we treasure what has happened in our heart, until the day that will come when all will be made clear to us.


Like most mothers, Mary our Mother was the person who had a great influence on her son’s heart. She taught him how to love, share, pray, be compassionate. She was the first to speak to him about God, and in her he could see these values come alive.


Let me take this scene slowly, Lord. Jesus is coming of age, entering his teens, and as an eager student, questioning his teachers. To his mother’s query: Your father and I, he points gently to another paternity: I must be in my Father’s house. No Gospel scene shows more clearly the gradual process by which he grew into a sense of his mission.


This story is chosen to celebrate the Holy Family as it is not a story of peaceful routine, but rather of drama and difficult decisions.