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Thoughts for the Week


The Feast of The Holy Family

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
8th January 2017

Jesus is Found in the Temple by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Christ is always found in unexpected places; in a manger by the Wise Men; in a small town, despised even by the Apostles. His parents now found Him unexpectedly in the temple. It was three days before they found Him, just as it would be the third day before Mary would find Him again after Calvary. The temple had great fascination for Him, since it was the little figure or model of Heaven; the Father's house was His home and in it He felt at home. After three days they found Him sitting in the temple surrounded by the teachers, listening to them and putting questions; and all who heard Him were amazed at His intelligence and the answers He gave. The fact that He was sitting in the midst of the doctors would indicate that they received Him not just as a learner, but as a professor. His parents were astonished to see Him there. In a land where the authority of the father was supreme, it was not Joseph the foster father, but Mary, who spoke: "My son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been searching for You in great anxiety". The virgin Birth was implied in her questioning. Her question implied that the emphasis was more on the fact that He was her Son than upon the fact that He was also the Son of God. This distinction is further underlined by the fact that she added a note about fatherhood, saying, "Thy father and I".

The Divine Child answered by making a distinction between the one whom He honoured as a father on Earth and the Eternal Father. This answer affirmed a parting of the ways; it did not diminish the filial duty that He owed to Mary and Joseph, for He became immediately subject to them again, but it decisively put them in a second place. These are the first recorded words of Jesus in the Gospels, and they are in the form of a question: "What made you search?" He said. "Did you not know that I was bound to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49).

The sword was already coming to Mary before the Cross had come to her Son, for she was already feeling the cutting separation. On the Cross, He would, in His human nature, utter the cry of His greatest agony, "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" But Mary uttered it while He was still a Boy, lost in the temple. The most penetrating sorrows of the soul are those which God imposes, as Jesus imposed this one on His mother. Creatures can hurt one another only on the outside, but God's purifying flame can enter their souls like a two-edged sword. Both His natures were teaching her to prepare her for His sorrowful life: His human nature by hiding the loveliness of His Face from her during those three days, better called three nights; His Divine nature by proclaiming that the Father had sent Him to Earth to do Heaven's business, which was to open it to mankind by paying the debt of sin.  

His Father's business at the end of the three days in the temple was no different from His Father's business at the end of three days in the grave. Like all other incidents in His infancy, this one bore witness to the Mission of the Cross. All men are born to live; He was born to do the Father's business, which was to die, and thereby to save. These first recorded words seem like the buds of a passion flower. On Easter Sunday Mary would find Him again in the temple - the Temple of His glorified Body.