The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
The young people and their plan of life
Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 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. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favour before God and man. Lk 2,41-52
The today gospel allows us to deal with a subject on which all the families of the world make experience: the plan of life of the sons and the moment of the separation from the parents. Mary and Joseph are worried because, when on their way back from the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old – which for the Jewish habits correspond to the years of the seniority – they lost him because, instead of restart with them to be back in Nazareth, he remained in the town. They found him in the temple where he is “ facing “ the doctors of the law with his questions and his answers: and here the dialogue between Mary and Joseph, on which we want to meditate, begins. Mary: “Here he is, your father and myself, quite worried, were looking for you”. Jesus: “ Why you were looking for me? Did you not know that I have to be concerned with the matters of my Father?” But Mary and Joseph do not understand his words. This dialogue brings to the light the fact that also the family of Nazareth had to face the problems of all the families in the world: at a certain point the sons, if they are honestly grown, start to realize to have a plan to achieve and a mission to be accomplished, but they do not talk about with the parents because their ideas are not yet clear. It would be better they would do it, because they could obtain some useful suggestion, but indeed they do not do it because they wait for the growing of the plan and for the rooting of it inside them, such to be able to resist to the parents criticisms. It is easier that they talk about with some friend. Also Jesus, although well grown in “ wisdom, age and grace” and being subdue to Mary and Joseph, is quite hermetic on the subject of his plan of life and his mission in the world. This means that this behaviour is natural and rather physiologic. Definitely he is aware, as also Mary and Joseph know, to be son of God and to have a mission to be accomplished in the world, but he does not know what this mission is, as all the young people who realize to have received a call, or cultivate a dream, do not know, having not clearly understood the content of it. The scene of the dialogue in the temple between Jesus and his parents is over with the remark “they did not understand what he said to them”. They could not understand because Jesus himself did not understand yet the outlines of his plan of life. However, due to one of the intuitions which often the young people have, already in the today passage he starts to discuss with the doctors of the law because he feels that they will be the counterpart of his thinking for all his public life. The today passage is the only one which narrates about the adolescence of Jesus, but it is a shining light which illuminates one of the most problematic moment in the life of the families.