First Reading: 1 Kgs 19:19-21
Psalm: Ps 96:10, 11-12, 13
Gospel: Lk 2:41-51
I think the three days should be considered like this: the first day was looking for Jesus in the caravan, the second day was going back to Jerusalem, and on the third day they arrived in Jerusalem. If this is the case, they probably headed right for the temple once the city gates opened on the third day. This seems like a very reasonable search. I see no reason for anyone to question the searching process of Mary and Joseph, and, if we look carefully, we see that Jesus does not question the process. He does not ask, “Why did you not look in the temple right away?” He asks, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” He is not correcting his parent’s methods but their attitude.
What their attitude was we can easily imagine. Jesus at 12 is an adult in his culture. In some ways it would be more like losing track of your 18 year old. When Jesus did not show up for lunch, Mary probably thought he was just with some friends. When he did not show up for bed that night, she probably spent the night lying awake, worrying more with each passing hour. The next morning was a frenzied trip back to Jerusalem. The next night was spent outside the city gates, waiting for them to open at sunrise. Then her relief and confusion, “Son why have you done this to us?”, reveal the stress she was under.
Not that Mary did anything wrong in all this. Worrying is part of being a parent. But what Jesus points out is also true, there was no objective reason to worry. It is not as if God might be getting into trouble, nor is it possible that anyone could have harmed him. Nevertheless, this was surely neither the first nor the last time that Mary worried about Jesus. Being a parent is hard, and being God’s parent does not make it easier.
We usually consider Mary as our Mother or as the perfect example of the Christian life or as the Mother of God in a theological sense, but, as yesterday we considered the humanity of Jesus in his Sacred Heart, today we consider the humanity of Mary in her Immaculate Heart. Just imagine all the worrying and hoping and suffering and love that her heart went through. Do not be afraid to turn to her; she knows what you are going through right now.