During Jesus’ life on earth, it was required that every Jewish man make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. It was a time to recognize and celebrate the Jewish people’s freedom from Egyptian slavery.  Jesus goes missing and is found three days later in the Temple during this feast that recounts freedom from slavery. As I read this account, I can’t help but contemplate how Jesus would become, just twenty years later, our freedom from the slavery of sin. 

Jewish men typically brought their wives and children on the pilgrimage but would travel separately from them. Therefore, it was not a matter of irresponsible parenting for Mary and Joseph to discover Jesus was missing. At twelve, Jesus was considered old enough to be among the men, although at this age, the cusp of manhood, it would not have been unusual for him to travel alongside His mother. For each to assume Jesus was with the other, therefore, would have been a logical conclusion for His parents to make. (see CCC 583)

At 12 years old, Jesus understood who he was in regard to His deity.  His response to return home with Mary and Joseph, where we are told He would remain obedient to them, growing in wisdom and honor under their watchful eye, demonstrates He also understood who He was in regard to his humanity. Furthermore, when we study this moment in the Gospel, we can not ignore the juxtaposition of the three days Jesus spent in the temple with His resurrection from the dead after three days. (see CCC 534)

Lastly, let us look at the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees were asking Jesus questions, and were amazed and astonished by His answers. Two thousand years later, it is easy to forget that we can still come to Jesus asking questions and receiving answers that astound us. Yet, how often do we seek His wisdom and counsel? Do we go to Him with questions, looking for instruction and guidance in the faith? How can we always keep in the forefront of our minds that He is alive, able to teach, direct, console, and amaze us? 

Our Lord and Savior is not dead! He is not distant or unaware; Jesus is back, for eternity, in His Father’s house, sitting at His right hand and able to love us in a way we can barely comprehend! Knowing this, pondering this in our hearts, we can take heart remembering Jesus’ promise to be with us until the end of the age. Jesus cannot be lost; He has made it very clear where He must be and where we can quickly locate Him — still in His Father’s house, in the Tabernacle, in the guise of Bread and Wine — our Eucharistic Lord! (see CCC 2599)

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