Gospel Reading: Lk 2:41-51
Each year Jesus’ 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.
SON, WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO US?
As the heart of Jesus is pierced with a lance, the heart of Mary is “pierced” by many sorrows and painful experiences. We feel her pain when she finds the boy Jesus in the Temple after three days of search and exclaims, “Son, why have you done this to us?”
Mary joyfully spoke her fiat, “May it be done to me,” a sign of a profound faith and trust. Faith and religion always have two sides: a joyful side and a severe, dark side.
Mary is to discover that faith is “not a triumphal march but a journey marked daily by suffering and love, trials and faithfulness,” as Pope Benedict XVI said during a general audience in 2006. As for Abraham, our “father in faith,” this faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. So often our trials and sorrows, the severe side of religion, which so distress us at present, do ultimately have lasting significance for some greater good or for the realization of some higher purpose; that surely is the beautiful, joyful side of religion. And in our perseverance, we begin to discern God’s Spirit guiding us, prompting us, to follow him as Mary did, in joys and in sorrows, keeping our eyes focused on her Son.
“True religion has two sides to it, a beautiful side and a severe side. And we all will surely stray from the narrow path that leads to life, if we indulge ourselvesin what is beautiful, while putting aside what is severe”
(John Henry Cardinal Newman).
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