“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.” Luke 2:44-50
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family, a feast day that celebrates so beautifully our vocation and encourages us in our efforts to exemplify the holiness of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Reading this passage as a mother, do you not feel the anxiety and fear that must have consumed the Blessed Mother? Jesus was the son of God but he was also Mary’s little boy, and her sinlessness does not shield her from her humanity. We often grow fearful or anxious, especially when it comes to the welfare of our children. God is with us in that anxiety.
Jesus’s response is hard to understand: “Why were you looking for me?” but it reminds us that he was not hers, he was the Father’s; and our children are not ours; we must give them back to the Lord. We are about our Father’s business and we have opened our hearts, our bodies, our lives, to the Lord. We must trust Him in our fear, in our darkness, and in our uncertainty. There is no hole so deep that the light of Christ cannot permeate the darkness, and no pain so great that Jesus cannot be there to comfort, guide, and lead you forth. Let the words of John encourage you: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” (1 Jn 3:1a)
PRAYER: Father God, thank you for calling me your child; thank you for giving me the Holy Family as an example. Help me to give my children back to you, to trust you with their lives and their futures. Help me to celebrate in gratitude all that you have given me and my family. Amen.