What would be your reaction if your child went missing and you found him three days later, debating with priests? You can only imagine what Joseph and Mary went through in such a situation as we reflect on Luke 2:41-51. Some choose to call it the episode of the finding in the Temple or Jesus getting lost in Jerusalem; but no matter the title we give to this episode, that which remains central is that Jesus asserts His special relationship with His Father.
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. Luke 2:41-51 New International Version (NIV)
The response of Jesus to the question His worried mother asked is worth reflecting on. He says: “Why were you searching for me? Do you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Now Jesus has taught us to call God our Father in the Lord’s Prayer and the bible also affirms that we are God’s children. As all of us know, when we are growing up, our parents have a responsibility to look after us, to provide food, shelter, clothing and education as well as all other basic necessities of life. But we also know that as children, we have some duties towards our parents and one of them is obedience to the things they ask of us.
A good parent is one who nurtures and nourishes their children well and a good child is one who honors and respects their parents well. Now if we are children of God, don’t you think the same principle applies? But while we expect God to do a lot of things for us, we are not mindful of what we need to do for Him, and I think that should change. Jesus was only 12 years and He knew what He had to do. As older people, it’s time we also know what we have to do. We must learn our Father’s business and then go about doing it; loving one another, forgiving faults, helping the poor and marginalized and so on. The Spirit of God is always upon us, it is time to get moving.
Peace and Joy
Written by Rev. Fr. Courage Dogbey