Finding Jesus in the Temple

I hate to admit it, but often times when praying the rosary I’ll be mindful of the appropriate mysteries on the first & last Hail Mary. The rest of the time? Distraction. It’s a real tragedy and one I am trying to work on. During Advent & Christmas, I typically pray the joyful mysteries straight through. This gives me ample time to really work my way through the infancy narratives (while simultaneously never being enough).

Recently, I was struck by something that I haven’t encountered before. I was on the fifth joyful mystery, the finding of Jesus in the temple – it’s a story with much significance in Jesus’ hidden life, but one which I so often gloss over. To try and stay focused, I’ll usually keep in mind one verse while praying: “did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?” I’m not even sure what that translation is, but it’s always stuck with me from a homily way back when.

So I was repeating that phrase, imagining Mary & Joseph searching for Jesus, finding him, asking why he would do this to them while they look for him anxiously. And his response, on the surface, can sometimes seem a bit rude. Like, Jesus – have a bit more respect for thy parents. But no. It is not rude at all. Jesus was not where Mary & Joseph expected or wanted Him to be. He was where his Father needed Him to be. 

How often do I turn to Jesus with my naive question: where were you? where are you? why are you not with me? why are you not doing what I think, in all my mediocre human wisdom, you should be doing right now? But now I see His response: “did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” I am just now starting to understand how He gave is the most loving, merciful, and just response of all.

There are [many] times we are seeking Jesus, seeking help and answers that only God can give, and we do not find that for which we are looking. At least for me, my mind will so often resort to, “obviously you just want me to suffer and remain where I am.” Well, maybe He does…in that moment. But I need to remember that He is always working, healing, and redeeming. It may not be in the way that I am expecting or wanting, but it is always in accordance with the Father’s will for my life.

“All things work for good for those who love God.” [Romans 8:28] Kevin used to say this all the time when we were dating. It was basically his catch phrase. Still, we usually will say it to one another when things are not going our way. Because while we are so overcome by the small details and moments of our lives, God is reigning over all of mankind. He is profoundly aware of our small details, but has the gift of seeing them in light of, quite literally, everything. 

I’m pretty sure that I’d rather our omniscient & omnipresent God do His thing than have me mess it up. So thank you, Lord, for giving us the fifth joyful mystery. Thank you for letting us know that when we feel like we can’t find you, you are assuredly about your Father’s business – which is always good.

 

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus? Sounds like a simple question, right?

Savior.

Son of God.

Redeemer.

Prince of Peace.

King of Kings.

The list goes on and on. The past few months the title that has resonated in my heart and kept me pondering is the Word of God. Isn’t it funny when we find ourselves in these moments of epiphany? Then we speak it out loud, and all of the sudden it sounds so silly. Because it should be obvious, right?

It’s right there in the first lines of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” [John 1:1-2]

And yesterday’s first reading:

“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” [Isaiah 55: 11]

While it’s been right under my nose for years, it’s finally hitting me. A deeper understanding of the Second Person of the Trinity through this title: Word of God. The fact that all of scripture is God’s one uttered Word. Total & complete. The catechism states that we venerate the Scriptures as we venerate the Lord’s body. How beautiful is that?

I think it’s pretty dang beautiful. And powerful.