By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: March 19, 2015
March 19, 2015

Gospel LK 2:41-51A

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.


Luke writes today’s gospel in such a calm narrative. For me, it’s a story that makes my heart skip a beat and almost break for Mary and Joseph.

My grandson, Nathan, is twelve years old, the same age as Jesus in today’s gospel. We recently visited New York city. It’s difficult to imagine the worry, actually panic, that would have consumed my heart if he were missing in that city for three days.

During the feast of Passover, Jerusalem would have had thousands of people visiting on pilgrimage. Caravans from Jordan and Egypt would have been coming and going to all corners of the middle east.

Mary’s words, “Why have you done this to us?” speaks volumes to any parent or grandparent who has ever had the heart stopping experience of a child gone missing.

But Jesus’ response, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” tells us that he had not “gone missing.” He was on a different journey, a spiritual journey to learn more about his father in heaven.

We know so little about Jesus’ early life. I picture him as a child torn between love and loyalty to his human family, and a deep yearning that constantly drew him to connect with his heavenly father.

As the scribes in the temple unrolled the scrolls and read, Jesus’ young heart must have leapt, when he heard the words of Psalm 84, for the first time:

“My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”

It is not unusual for elderly people to reach a point in life where they “pine for the Lord,” and express a desire to go “home to God.”

But Jesus was a young boy.

The expression, “He’s an old soul,” is sometimes applied to certain children. I believe young Jesus was “an old soul,” always yearning for that time when his work was done and he could start his journey home.

Many years later, when Jesus died on the cross he uttered his last words as a cry of triumph: “It is finished.” John 19:30

I can almost see the father running down the hill, throwing his arms around him and saying, “Well done, my son! Well done!”

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again.” Luke 15:24


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