DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Gospel of the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The finding of the Child Jesus in the temple
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.
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Luke (with permission)
41 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 day41
- Only St Luke (2:41-50) reports the event of the Child Jesus being lost and then found in the Temple, which we contemplate in the fifth joyful mystery of the Rosary.
- Only males aged twelve and upwards were required to make this journey. Nazareth is about 100 kms (60 miles) from Jerusalem as the crow flies, but the hilly nature of the country would have made it a trip of 140 kms.
43-44 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,
- On pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the Jews used to go in two groups — one of men, the other of women. Children could go with either group. This explains how they could go a day’s journey before they discovered the Child was missing when the families regrouped to camp.
- “Mary is crying. In vain you and I have run from group to group, from caravan to caravan: no one has seen him. Joseph, after fruitless attempts to keep from crying, cries too…. And you … And I.
- “Being a common little fellow, I cry my eyes out and wail to heaven and earth … to make up for the times when I lost him through my own fault and did not cry” (St. Josemaria, Holy Rosary, fifth joyful mystery).
45 but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
- The concern which Mary and Joseph show in looking for the Child Jesus should encourage us always to seek Jesus out, particularly if we lose him through sin.
- “Jesus: may I never lose you again … Now you and I are united in misfortune and grief, as we were united in sin. And from the depths of our being come sighs of heartfelt sorrow and burning phrases which the pen cannot and should not record” (St. Josemaria, Holy Rosary, fifth joyful mystery).
46-47 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.
- The Child Jesus must have been in the courtyard of the Temple, which was where the teachers usually taught. Listeners used to sit at their feet, now and again asking questions and responding to them. This was what Jesus did, but his questions and answers attracted the teachers’ attention, he was so wise and well-informed.
48 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.”
- Ever since the Annunciation our Lady had known that the Child Jesus was God. This faith was the basis of her generous fidelity throughout her life — but there was no reason why it should include detailed knowledge of all the sacrifices God would ask of her, nor of how Christ would go about his mission of redemption: that was something she would discover as time went by, contemplating her Son’s life.
49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
- Christ’s reply is a form of explanation. His words — his first words to be recorded in the Gospel — clearly show his divine Sonship; and they also show his determination to fulfil the will of his Eternal Father. “He does not upbraid them — Mary and Joseph — for searching for their son, but he raises the eyes of their souls to appreciate what he owes Him whose Eternal Son he is”(St Bede, In Lucae Evangelium expositio, in loc.).
- Jesus teaches us that over and above any human authority, even that of our parents, there is the primary duty to do the will of God.
- “And, once we are consoled by the joy of finding Jesus — three days he was gone! — debating with the teachers of Israel (Lk 2:46), you and I shall be left deeply impressed by the duty to leave our home and family to serve our heavenly Father” (St. Josemaria, Holy Rosary, fifth joyful mystery).[…]
50 He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
- We must remember that Jesus knew in detail the whole course his earthly life would take from his conception onwards (cf. note on Lk 2:52). This is shown by what he says in reply to his parents. Mary and Joseph realized that his reply contained a deeper meaning which they did not grasp. They grew to understand it as the life of their Child unfolded. Mary’s and Joseph’s faith and their reverence towards the Child led them not to ask any further questions but to reflect on Jesus’ words and behaviour in this instance, as they had done on other occasions.
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC 1: DO YOU ALWAYS MISS THE B.U.S. IN GOING TO THE HOUSE OF GOD?
We reflect today on our relationship, or its non-existence, with our Heavenly Father. While we all aspire for lasting happiness, we may not really know how and miss the B.U.S. entirely, depriving us of the richness of life.
TOPIC 2: DOES YOUR LOVE FOR GOD WAVER WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER PROBLEMS?
Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is celebrated a day after that of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The devotion to these two hearts was promoted to honor the deep love of God for his children and the response of man to love back in return through the example of Mary.
TOPIC 2: Are you ready to let go of your children to face the world?
At some point in our lives as parents, we will need to grow up. It is not the growing up that is associated with our biological age but one that involves our act of letting go. Letting go of our children often times is difficult to do. It may be an arduous process that we go through with a lot of discomfort and, perhaps, pain; especially when we feel we have not given them enough. But what is enough?
Preparing our children to face life on their own is our role as parents. While we may not be with them most of their waking life, we must take every opportunity to teach them about life.
As parents, we may face that uncomfortable realization that, at a certain age, our children will not be as docile and obedient as before. The comfort zone we used to stay in may now be unstable as our children start to chart their own lives. We must allow them to commit mistakes and learn for themselves but always with a word of caution, reminder, advice and counselling — whether they like it or not.
When my children became teenagers, they desired more freedom. But we did not give it to them immediately. We loosened the rope gradually as we saw them doing things responsibly and pulled the rope when we felt we needed to guide them some more.
When our children start to feel hemmed in by our constant reminders, my standard statement to them would be, “Son, I will be remiss in my role if I do not say my piece. I have gone through what you are going through right now and it might help if you try to listen, even if I have told you this before.” Oftentimes, the temptation to just keep quiet and let them do their thing is there to avoid conflict. But along with prayers for their well-being is the prayer for grace to say what I need to say. Another standard line I give is, “You may not realize the significance of my reminders until you become parents yourselves.” Another is, “I could choose to remain silent and let you do what you want to do, but because I love you, I am saying this at the risk of discomfort for both of us.”
This may be cultural thing, but at the end of the day, we must never shirk from our role as parents to share the right values and form our children’s perspectives according to the ways of the Lord.
Eventually, the apprehensions, the fears for our children will go away as they show that they know how to make the right, and even the wrong decisions, that would help them survive the harshness of the world around them.
But never be remiss in teaching them to pray and being with them in prayer because God’s grace will be their guide, the angels their guard, and Mama Mary, their intercessor to Jesus.
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