5 – Mary and the loss of Jesus at the Temple – Mary protector of the lost
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it …
What? They did not know where he was? Probably most of us can relate to the fear of losing the location of a child for even a few brief moments. Not a good feeling and yet total relief when they are found. You don’t know whether to hug them or be mad at them. We can be this way with ourselves too. Lost in thought, in our selfishness, agenda, ambitions – blinded to what is going on around us that needs our attention. Mary and Joseph both believed he was with the other and so were going along happily with their friends, without worry. But eventually they stopped and realized it wasn’t true, and he was missing. Fear, anxiety and worry set in.
I was lost for a long time from my faith. I believed in God, Jesus and the all the Saints. I knew Mary as the Mother of God. But I didn’t practice my faith. At a time in my life that I faced a crisis in a failing marriage, no one directed me towards the church. My ignorance actually pushed me away with a grave misunderstanding and so I left. Lost hope. Turned away from God. Yet I still prayed – God help me. I l looked to replace him in other churches, work, people. But he wasn’t there, yet he was. I know the Father walked with me but for so long I didn’t know how to come to know it. I was poorly catechized and turned to the world for all my answers.
Jesus sought out the teachers – he sat with them and listened, he likely asked questions and gave answers. He was there for three days – and Mary searched for three days. His passion was also three days. I ponder on the similarities of Jesus speaking in the Temple to the teachers, to Mary and Joseph double backing to Jerusalem and searching. Then Mary said to him, “your father and I have been searching for you” and he replied, “didn’t you know I was to be in my father’s house.” It seems Jesus was making a real clarification about his unique calling as the Son of God. Did his mission supersede family ties?
When I found my faith and Jesus cleaned up my soul, I had a hard time explaining it to family members. They didn’t want it like I did. Many were/are happy with their lives and don’t really want change. Living a life dedicated to Jesus, openly loving God, Mary and all the saints becomes a calling that cannot be denied. You have to live it fully, openly and with intentionality. You don’t want to do anything less! So I had to change some relationships and up my prayers for these family members. I had to learn to not dummy down my faith for them but speak honestly and truthfully when asked; and not put it in their faces. I could lay seeds, but God needed to provide the sun and rain.
Mary might have had more insight than Joseph recalling the message of Simeon in the temple when he said to her “A sword of sorrow will pierce your heart, your son is set for the rise and fall of many.” Was this the sorrow – losing Jesus for three days? Searching for her twelve year old son had to be sorrowful after three days and then seeing him amongst the temple scholars confusing. What did they want from her son at this time … and would they be involved with him again years later? Mary’s heart would know to trust, surrender and not seek understanding. She knew God would provide and trusted her fiat would carry her even here.
God provided great sun and rain for the seeds of my faith too, both for me and many of my family. I know it is part of the salvation of my husband. Coming back to the church enabled him in time to come back as well, to repent and be received to full communion with the church and God before his death. We both were “found” in the merciful love of Christ who said to St. Faustina, “no sin is greater than my mercy.” I pray to remember each day my own unique calling as a beloved daughter of God who desires to be in union with the Father. May we all be like Mary and not question, but trust, surrender and give to the Lord what we do not understand. He sees the bigger picture. He will provide.
Photo credit: Public Domain, Created: 1854/1855
File:William Holman Hunt – The Finding of the Savior in the Temple – Google Art Project.jpg
“Mary’s ‘heart’ would know to trust, surrender and not seek understanding”. How often to I try to understand (wrapping my head around things) before I trust and surrender. Surrendering the understanding and staying in my ‘heart’ instead of my head is the way to Jesus through Mary. Thank you, Cathy. More for me to ponder. 🙏🏻
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We walk by faith… glory to God for your reflection. May He give you peace!