Anyone who has ever raised a child, especially a teenager, should be able to identify with Mary and Joseph’s anguish over the disappearance of their son.
When a child fails to come home – the universal response is to fear the worst.
Just as parent’s today worry about child trafficers, random shootings, and hit-and-run drivers ---- so in Jesus’ time there were similar predators who targeted the young.
Given the fact that Jesus was missing for three days ---- Mary thinking Jesus was old enough to be walking back to Nazareth with the men ----
and Joseph thinking the boy, not old enough to be considered a man --- was walking home with his mother and the women ---- one can only begin to imagine the panic that set in when they actually discovered that Jesus was with neither group.
And so the frantic search began. And relief came only when they found Jesus in the temple.
Mary then reprimanded her son letting him know of the “great anxiety” he had caused.
On this feast of the Holy Family, it is important to know that struggles are part of everyone’s life.
However we define “family”, holiness is always worked out by engaging with struggle and conflict and misunderstanding – not avoiding these things. Problems don’t go away just because we refuse to talk about them.
From his parent’s perspective – Jesus behaved rather thoughtlessly.
And from Jesus’ perspective, his parents should have known his whereabouts.
Somewhere in this clash of viewpoints and perspectives – in spite of the pain and confusion and struggle --- LOVE PREVAILED. And that’s what made this family unit – holy.
O loving God, help us to love in the midst of family struggles --- so we, too, can be holy.
Moments in time...