12-year old Jesus in the Temple - Albrecht Durer (1497)
12-year old Jesus in the Temple – Albrecht Durer (1497)

This Sunday the Church celebrates the mystery of the Holy Family with a focus on Luke 2:41-52: When Mary and Joseph lose Jesus and then find Him in the Temple.

The story is every parent’s nightmare: Mary and Joseph lose Jesus.  After spending the Passover in Jerusalem, the Mary and Joseph leave with a large group of kin to return to Galilee, assuming that the 12-year old Jesus is with them.

Imagine the panic: “We have lost the Son of God!  We have lost the Son of Man!”  Poor Mary and Joseph; this must have been quite traumatic.

But after a day’s travel, they realize that Jesus is not with them.  They take another day to return to Jerusalem  and one assumes spend another day searching for Jesus.   They finally find the 12-year old, astounding the most learned teachers in Israel in the Temple.  When asked why Jesus has caused such anxiety by staying behind, He replies: “Did you know know that I must be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49).

As with all actions of the Savior, the finding of Jesus in the Temple has profound and mysterious insights that point to the awesomeness of Jesus Christ.  Mary and Joseph lose Jesus for three days, fearing the worst and find Him in the Temple, which Jesus calls “His Father’s House”.  This prefigures the Passion where Mary and the disciples lose Jesus for three days, fearing that He is dead, but then find that Jesus has been resurrected and will now dwell forever with the Father.

Whose life, as a 12-year old, offers predictions that replay in the future?

The story of finding Jesus in the Temple is an awe-inspiring mystery!