Isaiah 61:9-11; 1 Samuel 2; Luke 2:41-51
The Gospel today gives us a glimpse of the childhood of Jesus: that they were faithful Jews who obeyed what the Law commands. They went to Jerusalem every year to observe Passover. Jesus would have seen the slaughter of lambs at that time to mark the freedom of his people. However, when it was time to go home, Jesus stayed. Mary and Joseph thought he was in the group of travelers, they went on their journey back and found Jesus was not with them. One can only imagine how Mary and Joseph felt at this time, panic, grief, guilt? We see this when Mary confronted Jesus when they found him: Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.
Mary, the one who surrendered her life to the Lord, the Handmaid of the Lord, the One who was conceived without sin, was anxious when her Son was lost. What this shows is that anxiety is a normal human reaction. It is not a sin to worry. But this anxiety did not cause Mary and Joseph to just stay where they were. They went and continued to search for Jesus. The reply of Jesus shows he knows where he should be: I must be in my Father’s house. Jesus is where the Father’s will is.
The First Reading tells us: he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness means it is God’s will that we be saved, and it is his will that we are righteous. God knows what he is doing and what matters for us is not what he is doing, but where he is. We do not need to know what his specific plan for us at a point in time. What we need to concern ourselves is to find where God is in our lives. We do not concern ourselves with understanding why God acts in a certain way, why God does not give us what we ask. What matters is to find God where he is. The Gospel tells us when Jesus went back to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, he was obedient to them. And Mary treasured all these things in her heart. Mary may not have understood what Jesus meant, and that is fine with her as long as she has Jesus with her. What Mary did was to treasure all that happened in her heart. The Douay-Rheims translates this as: And his mother kept all these words in her heart. The Greek word for kept means to watch thoroughly, guard. Mary guarded the words in her heart. She reflected on the words in her heart.
When we are in situations that do not make sense, what should we do? We do what Mary and Joseph did: search for Jesus. See where Jesus is at that moment. And like Mary and Joseph, when we search for Jesus, we will find him eventually, perhaps not as we expect, but where he should be. But we know, Jesus is where God wants him to be and the will of God may not be the same as what I want, or what I expect, I must trust God’s will is for my salvation. God knows what he is doing.
How do we search for Jesus? As Mary, we keep watch and guard all these words in our heart. We keeep watch on Jesus, the Word of God in Scripture and in the Teaching of the Apostles. In a special way, Scripture reveals God so keep watch on Scripture will help us find Jesus. Another thing for Catholics is to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We believe, this is Jesus himself so when we come before him, we literally find him. We will definitely not have flashes of lightning or fire when we come before Jesus, but as Pope Benedict XVI says God speaks in the silence.
The Psalm reminds us: God is our strength. This pandemic has shown us that what we trusted before, our money, our jobs, even our friends cannot help us. What remains is God himself. It is he who will provide for our needs. In the midst of barrenness, God will make things grow. When we rely on the Lord, he lifts us up. The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not one of weakness. But it is one of strength and power. it is one where we run to our Mother, confident her Immaculate Heart has triumphed over sin and death. She herself said In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
Lord God, help me in my situation. I try to look yet, cannot find meaning for my situation. But Lord, now, I search for you and you promised, whoever searches will find. Let me find you. Reveal yourself to me. Let me guard your word in my heart, so I can surrender my life to you. It is not in understanding my situation that matters. But what matters is finding you in where I am. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for me. Show me Jesus.