At first glance, the Gospel reading for today from Luke 2:41-51 seems to be a narrative of a 12 year-old Jesus staying behind the caravan, becoming lost in Jerusalem, before being found in the temple by Joseph and Mary. It is, of course, that, but I see so much more. Threads of the life of the Holy Family, the revelation of God’s divine plan, and the importance of pondering things in our heart are present in the Gospel verse.
The verse begins with the words – “Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old they went up according to festival custom.” We are reminded that Jesus, while fully divine, was also fully human, born and raised in a human family. Jesus was taught the shema, the ancient Jewish prayer, was educated in the Torah, and participated in the customs of his Jewish faith all thanks to Joseph and Mary. Family was important in raising children in the Jewish faith back then. Family is important in raising children in the Catholic faith today.
I cannot help but wonder if that raising of Jesus, by Joseph and Mary, in the Jewish faith led to the beginnings of Jesus’ awareness of what his identity and mission were. We do not in Scripture, at least not yet, hear that voice from heaven saying “You are my beloved Son”. The Holy Spirit is, however, quietly at work. We see the Father using Joseph and Mary as the hands of the potter in forming a young Jesus, so as to prepare him for his heavenly mission. That process of revealing the Father’s plan occurs over time; in fact it occurs over thirty years. It is not until the wedding at Cana that Jesus’ hour has come. We are asked by Christ, in Sacred Scripture, to be “child-like” in our faith. Let us do that as we remain constantly open to our own identity and mission as sons and daughters of the Father.
The Gospel verse ends with the words “and his mother kept all things in her heart.” It has been over twelve years, since Mary heard of God’s plan from the angel Gabriel at the annunciation. Perhaps, Jesus’ words, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house” served as a reminder for Mary of God’s divine plan for her child. Mary, pondered this in her heart; she filed it away and because of that, she may have known that the wedding at Cana would be the catalyst of Jesus’ public ministry.
Today, as we celebrate the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us learn from her and ponder things in our own hearts. More importantly, let us place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother.