When my nephew was three, I took him with me to the local mall, just to look around. We wound our way in and out of stores and to my delight, he was enjoying the adventure. We stopped in JC Penney’s to look at clothes. And to my horror, I noticed he was not around. My heart dropped and I went into panic mode. After what seemed like an eternity [ about one minute] I found him within the carousel of clothes wanting to play hide and seek. Needless to say, we decided to immediately go home!
In our gospel today, Mary and Joseph lost Jesus! They searched for him according to a predictable pattern: first, among the relatives, then they retraced their steps looking for him wherever they had been. Following this pattern led to finding Jesus. But their search also reveals another pattern, one significant for us and our daily living.
Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus. In reality, this describes our own Christian living. We look for Jesus when we, like him seek to be in God’s presence; when we, like him, choose to be obedient; when we, like him grow in wisdom. Along the way we discover that Jesus enlarges when we look for him, how we find him , and what new understanding comes to us through our encounters with him. This is the pattern of faithful Christian living that brings us to fullness of life.
Every good family strives for continued growth in fidelity to God and each other. Each time we choose to love one another, we grow into a deeper relationship with each other. Our family is stronger and so are we for it.
A holy family is one in which relationships place God at the center. Like Mary and Joseph, good parents always nurture and take care of their children. Such is what holy family living is really all about: seeking, obeying, loving.