O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19a
This morning’s Gospel lesson is a familiar story. I suspect that many of us learned of this event as youngsters in Sunday School. It may have had a special meaning for you then as it was an event that occurred when Jesus was a youngster himself.
Jewish law called for all males over the age of 12 come to the temple three times each year. The first of these feasts was at Passover. The next time was 50 days later to celebrate Shavuot which we call Pentecost; and the third feast was held in the fall and was called Sukkot which was a celebration for the harvest of the fall crops.
This morning’s lesson recalls the time when Jesus and his family had gone to Jerusalem for Passover. We can assume that Mary and Joseph would have come each year to observe this most important Jewish festival and Jesus would have been with them. Jesus was now 12 and he was now considered a man and we can assume that it was safe for a young person to walk about in the city by themselves and apparently this is what Jesus had done.
When the time of celebration had ended Mary and Joseph had begun their way home along with other friends and neighbors. When evening came it would appear that Jesus was not with the group and his parents were extremely worried. Jesus’ parents returned to the Holy City and began a frantic search for their son. After three days, they found him in the temple talking with the elders of the church.
I suspect that his parents couldn’t understand how this had happened. However, we sense that Jesus felt that it was only natural that he would be there “being about his father’s business.” It would seem that, as Jesus grew older, he was beginning to sense a closeness to God that would continue to grow and develop in the years to come as he grew in wisdom and grace.
As Jesus continued to mature, he continued to recognize a call to do God’s will and he committed himself to being obedient to his heavenly Father. In this morning’s reading, Jesus is a typical teenager, but in the years to come he would continue to be drawn closer and closer to the plan that God had for his life.
Our task in hearing this reading is to ask ourselves, “what is it that God has planned for my life and am I willing to be obedient to the will of God?” May our prayer for the coming year be, “give us wisdom to know where God is leading us and the courage to follow Him into the unknown.”
We may still not know what the coming year will bring but may we commit ourselves to moving forward in faith knowing that God is good…all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.