Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Bishop Robert Barron
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Gospel: 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.
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel tells the familiar story of Mary and Joseph finding twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple. When they find him, they upbraid him with understandable exasperation: “Son, why have you done this to us?” But Jesus responds, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
The story conveys a truth that runs sharply counter to our sensibilities: even the most powerful familial emotions must, in the end, give way to mission. Though she felt an enormous pull in the opposite direction, Mary let her son go, allowing him to find his vocation in the Temple. Legitimate sentiment devolves into sentimentality precisely when it comes to supersede the call of God.
On a biblical reading, the family is, above all, the forum in which both parents and children are able to discern their missions. It is perfectly good, of course, if deep bonds and rich emotions are cultivated within the family, but those relationships and passions must cede to something that is more fundamental, more enduring, more spiritually focused.
The paradox is this: precisely in the measure that everyone in the family focuses on God’s call for one another, the family becomes more loving and peaceful.